Mario Tama/Getty Images
Second Chief "Lil Bo" of the Wild Magnolias.
Second Chief "Lil Bo" of the Wild Magnolias. Mario Tama/Getty Images
The traditions of Mardi Gras are a huge part of New Orleans' cultural identity. They've been evolving since the mid-1700s, and for the past century or so, the music of the Crescent City has provided the thread that ties all these traditions together. It's history you can dance to, and you can get a taste of it in this list of songs by a few of New Orleans' finest musicians.
Some of these players focus on preserving the past, while others use history as a springboard to the future. What they all have in common is that the music they play could never have come from anywhere but New Orleans — and you can probably find most of them playing somewhere in the city during Mardi Gras.