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More than Instagram: JAMNOLA Celebrates What It Means to Be a New Orleanian

Above all else, New Orleans is known for its deep-rooted culture. Tourists from far and wide visit to get a taste of what makes the Crescent City so special. In their love letter to New Orleans, JAMNOLA takes the “art walkthrough” to tasty and funky new heights. JAMNOLA strives to connect viewers to what means to live, love, and celebrate in the city of New Orleans. Joy-Art-Music-New-Orleans-L-A – JAMNOLA!

JAMNOLA fully immerses the viewer into not only what New Orleans may look like to the average tourist, but how it feels to live and breathe with the city’s heartbeat and the amazing folks who reside here. In partnership with Where Y’art (a local artist collective), Jonny Liss and Chad Smith developed this vision.

“I wanted to create a tribute to the city’s people and invest in the culture. JAMNOLA is a love letter to New Orleans—her joy, her beauty and grit, her resilience.”Jonny Liss, Co-founder

JAMNOLA features 20 different local artists across 12 immersive rooms in a 5,400 ft square space located in the Bywater (2832 Royal Street). It takes a refreshing spin on “photo-worthy walkthroughs” while going above and beyond on safety protocols and health regulations. The space was actually fully-reimagined with COVID regulations in mind and tours are booked privately and semi-privately.

Each guest is provided with their own mini-site which stores all of the photo opportunities and includes a “cultural concierge” with recommendations for places to get the best food, music, and fun! The tours are focused around the education of the vibrancy of New Orleans while being fully immersed in a Joy, Art, and Musical experience. Music throughout the art installation was curated by local legend George Porter Jr., with some contribution by Big Freedia.

Take a look at some of the art installations we found to be an all-encompassing homage to the unique culture of what it truly means to be from New Orleans. (But don’t just take our word for it – we saved some surprises for you to check out for yourself!)


“What’s Your Jam?” 

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This room is a colorful creative display of everything that makes New Orleans both unique and so much fun. “What’s Your Jam?” asks “What do you love? What makes you full of joy?” through the visual storytelling of murals covering every inch of the room.

Murals were created by Courtney “Ceaux” Buckley, Jeremy Patin, Noah Church, and Josh Hailey with the multi-media floor piece (featured on the right). Each mural has a different vibe and message but all come together to remind us of the best parts of this vibrant city.

“What’s Your Jam?” is full of fantastic photo spots including receiving a key to the city, a porch stoop to sit on, and a street sign to dance around. 

 

Costume Closet 

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a New Orleans resident WITHOUT a costume closet (or at least a trunk). Since the city is constantly celebrating, there is almost always an opportunity to bust out your best funky clothing and costumes.

Photo by: @kaitlyn_amor

Costuming in New Orleans is truly an underrated art, considering how much time, glitter, beads (and beans!) are used each year in preparation for Mardi Gras.

Costumes featured in this room were largely curated by Shel Roumillat, owner and operator of the New Orleans Costume Center just a few doors down from JAMNOLA. There are other costume contributors including some awesome pieces from La Adorna and the Krewe of Queer Eye Sci-Fi. One of our favorite parts of the costume closet (and other rooms) was the incredible Flavor Paper by Jon Sherman. It’s themed wall-paper featuring tons of local faces in their Mardi Gras costumes.

There’s an interactive costume mirror as well as amazing photo opportunities here, including taking some pictures with huge costumes and headpieces. 

Sound Garden

The Sound Garden is by far the most impressive technological piece inside of JAMNOLA. It’s a giant musical instrument that you can activate without touching it! Marcus Brown, a NOCCA graduate, developed this unique form of painting called Electro-Sonic Painting in which the artist paints with an amplified brush to simultaneously create a work of art and music.

For the musical recordings, Brown received the help of Khari Allen Lee, a longtime educator at NOCCA and now UNO, who is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist. We’ve opted not to include any videos of this incredible work of art, you’ll just have to experience it yourself! 

Garden of Legends

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We love the Garden of Legends! It brings together two amazing parts of New Orleans culture: Mardi Gras floats and music. The room features life-size paper mache heads of some of New Orleans’ biggest musical icons including Dr. John, Lil Wayne, Professor Longhair, Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas and so many more.

The busts were created by Skye Erie, also a NOCCA grad, and the lead sculptor for the Rex Parade (one of the largest and oldest Mardi Gras Parades held on Fat Tuesday). Plant and environmental artist, Jacob Reptile, helped develop the “garden” concept with each fabricated plant – a fabulous replication of the local flora. 

JAMNOLA holds so many more secrets and surprises in their 12 rooms, as well as continually expanding and recreating the space to constantly bring you new experiences. This Halloween, they are redesigning JAMNOLA as the “House of Eclectic Souls”, get more information here.

Tickets for JAMNOLA and their various events can be purchased here – as well as more information on the artists and installations. 

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