If you like our sound, stick around: Buskers of the French Quarter
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New Orleans has long been associated with uninhibited revelry, historically unique attractions and architecture, and the rich musical tapestry woven by its inhabitants; all of which converge on the French Quarter. Of the groups found in the Quarter, those heard first are street musicians, or buskers, who come from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds and have equally diverse goals in mind, from maintaining basic subsistence needs to trying to make it big and build their career. This study utilizes ArcGIS maps to find patterns behind busking locations in and around Jackson Square by marking where musicians play and how this relates to their background, style of music, group membership, use of technology, and presence of CDs for sale. This cultural geography is given deeper meaning through participant observation and interviews with buskers. These qualitative approaches provided a better understanding of the motivations behind performance site determination and the nuances of the multitude of interactions in the busking community, ranging from relationships with other buskers, other French Quarter folk, the authorities, and the city at large. This study makes visible the hidden life of buskers who comprise an important component of the informal sector of the tourist economy of the French Quarter.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Anthropology