Street Performers, New Orleans
One of the highly embraced local customs in New Orleans is the art of Busking. For those who are not familiar with the term, busking is the act of performing services on the street for entertainment, solely on the basis of tips. There is no better place to see these actors, artisans, and performers than in and around Jackson Square in the pedestrian mall.
Some of the best performances we saw were the acrobatic performances, the robot (pictured here), the jazz bands, and the sketch artists.
Prices range significantly based on the services rendered, but the robot man here was happy to pose for pictures for $1USD.
It also appears that busking requires a permit available at the city courthouse.
The street performers here were really amazing--I don't know if they were better than usual because we were there on New Years weekend, but they were definitely worth watching. It's located fairly close to the steamboat dock, so we watched these guys perform while we waited to board the boat.
There are many street musicians, artists, and performers throughtout the city. A purchase from them makes a great souvenior to take home and will last longer, and supply more memories than most trashy souveniors. Of course, there's trashy art to bring home also!!
A lot of these people are great talents and have been performing a number of years. For one reason or another they choose not to be encumbered by the indoors. If you like what you hear, toss em' a few bucks.
The street performers that are in NOLA are actually working for a living (some more than others, but I digress). Tip them occasionally! Especially if you ask to have your picture taken with them, sit for a few and listen to them perform, etc.
On the same note, the street performers (and the homeless people) in New Orleans were nicer than in any other city I've ever been in. It actually made me loosen up the purse strings a little! Its refreshing to hear "Have a nice day anyways" as opposed to "kiss my $#**#" when you tell someone you don't have any change.
These are performers of a different sort. They were photographing a commercial using one of the mule drawn carriages right in front of Jackson Square. A couple was running across the street and jumping into the carriage. While they were doing that, the traffic on the street was stopped.
Keep a lookout for some scene in a commericial or show that was filmed here in front of Jackson Square.
This is a picture of St Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. All around the park you will experience street vendors and fortune tellers; a must-see! Also, the famous Cafe du Monde is steps away, along with the street market. Those seeking Bourbon ST. need not fret, it is only 3 blocks away! I consider Jackosn Square to be the best starting/meeting point in the city. Large parking lots ($$$) are very close, along with everything I just mentioned.
New Orleans is a center for "alternative spirituality" - they say that it's a perfectly ghostly city, perhaps because for centuries the dead have been buried above ground, due to the remarkably low water table. At any rate, there are numerous spritual types who have been attracted to "crescent city," and many of them set up their tables in Jackson Square to share their gifts with the public - at a small price, of course.
If you are walking through Jackson Square, you may very well see some street performers. Definitely stop and take a look. Because the last time I was there, I got to see one of the best acrobatic performances I have ever seen! The Calypso Tumblers ("Who?" Yeah, thats what I said) are a travelling group of street performers that put on an awesome show and asked only for tips. It lasted about an hour and they passed around buckets for the donations. They raised AT LEAST $1000. There's not many places that you can walk around and see a performance like this 1)on the street and 2) for $2!!!
Not exactly a culture tip so much as a bit of advise. If you walk through downtown New Orleans there will be many people performing on the side walk. If you want to take a picture be certain to have some cash on hand. This is their way of living and if they're good enough for you to want their picture they figure they have earned a tip.
Have a cup of coffee while your shoes are polished.
When in uniform you have to have shining boots, this is the way to do it.
This shoe shining stand was at Jackson Square.