The backdrop of New Orleans is a mystical tapestry of music, food, drink, architecture, and the infinite number of ways to represent beauty through art. The city’s history is a mashup of French, Spanish, Caribbean, African, Native American and European cultures. French street names with spanish balconies, A little african rhythm in your funk. New Orleans is all about taking what is here and making something beautiful out of it. In the deep heart of the Bywater at 4557 N. Rampart, is an installation where artistic mashup is the name of the game, created by the collective known as New Orleans Airlift: The Music Box Village.
After Katrina, local artists Delaney Martin, Jay Pennington created the initiative The New Orleans Airlift (after the Berlin Airlift of WWII) as a way for artists to create and be supported as the city was rebuilding. Airlift highlights our city’s underground art and under-the-radar artists, transporting the dynamic street culture, living folk culture and growing contemporary arts scene of New Orleans. One of the their projects was the Music Box Village, a large scale music collaborative project. The music box village was originally a mobile art installation and was set up in City Park as well as Tampa Bay and Massachusetts and even has established a music box inside of jazz fest. The permanent home of the Music Box Village began in 2016 and is now a collection of musical houses. Each house can be “played” like a musical instrument, and over 15 houses built and installed the music village box is wonderful experience for folks of all ages to explore their imagination through sound. Take a tour and explore the village yourself, or check out their website for upcoming unique performances. As word has gotten out about this unique art installation, the MBV has attracted musicians from all over the world, including Wilco, Tony Allen, Sun Ra Arkestra, The Residents, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, and Big Freedia to name a few.
There are membership packages available as well as volunteer opportunities to work a night and experience the MBV for free. As the MBV has grown, they now serve food and drinks and there is parking nearby. Be a spectator at one of these incredible one of a kind shows, or visit the MBV during their public hours (Weekends from 10am-7pm) and feel the rhythms of New Orleans by playing on house built from reclaimed wood, yet still giving sharing the wonderful groove of New Orleans.