Great Day In New Orleans

"The who's who is here, this musical congregation is outstanding, and it certainly shows the links in the chain of the city’s musical traditions”. ~ Allen Toussaint

The story behind New Orleans music history all in one image.

A Moment In Time

It was a bright and sunny day in New Orleans.

On October 14th, 1998, sixty-three legendary musicians, spanning three generations, gathered in Armstrong Park to capture a “decisive moment in time” in the photograph, A Great Day in New Orleans.

New Orleans’ legend, Dr. John wanted to honor the city’s finest musicians at a “Musical Family Reunion.” At the time, he was working on a documentary film with Louisiana filmmaker, Lawrence Cumbo. He asked Cumbo to create a photograph inspired by Art Kane’s iconic 1958 jazz portrait, later known as A Great Day in Harlem

The Image

After months of planning, the acclaimed artists gathered together to celebrate their diverse talents and remarkable  influence on American music. It became an all day party in the Treme’. Just a few of the musicians  illuminated in the photo are Allen Toussaint, George Porter Jr, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Harry Connick Sr, James Andrews, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Tab Benoit, Ernie-K-Doe, Marva Wright and Cosimo Matassa. 

As Allen Toussaint expressed that day,, “the who's who is here, this musical congregation is outstanding, and it certainly shows the links in the chain of the city’s musical traditions”. 

Now, twenty-five years later, Cumbo is embarking on a journey to bring the surviving “Greats" and the next generation of musicians together in a new documentary film. 

Photo by Lawrence Cumbo

Mayoral Permit

Site Plan

Rushing To Enter, 1982

These dancers show off their moves in 1977.

The Musicians

We went looking for some of the best tracks by these amazing musicians.

Here is a playlist we made to celebrate this amazing day and image.


JAZZ FEST: A NEW ORLEANS STORY weaves together live performances and interviews from the 50th anniversary of the iconic festival, featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry, along with a wealth of archival documentary footage from the past half century. This film not only captures the Festival in all of its beauty and glory, but also delves deep into the rich culture of New Orleans.


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