New Orleans Bracket Bash: Music Madness Edition

New Orleans Bracket Bash

Welcome to the New Orleans Bracket Bash, where New Orleans’s cultural touchstones—songs, movies, food, buildings, characters from history—come to meet and compete. Vote in each round, and follow your favorites through the bracket until a champion emerges from the pack. Check The Historic New Orleans Collection's social media feeds to get announcements for each new bracket as well as competition updates and historical “competitor” spotlights as each tournament progresses.


Music Madness: Champion: "Iko Iko"

The Dixie Cups

For our first bracket, we took a comprehensive look at New Orleans music through the years with a 64-track tournament assembled by THNOC Curator/Historian Eric Seiferth. This bracket’s launch coincided with the debut of a new virtual exhibition, New Orleans Medley: Sounds of the City. Co-curated by Seiferth and THNOC’s Alfred Lemmon, the exhibition was on view in Williams Research Center in 2019 but lives on in engaging, interactive fashion on our website.

"Iko Iko" emerged as the winner, and here's what Seiferth had to say about its somewhat surprising victory: "If New Orleans has an anthem—a song we all know and sing together—it must be "Iko Iko." This song means so many things to so many people here. It's rhythm, call and response elements, and lyrical allusions to Mardi Gras Indian and Carnival culture are as New Orleans as it gets. And, unlike some other songs, this one belongs to us. Try explaining "Iko Iko" to someone from somewhere else and you'll immediately see how deeply this song mirrors and is a product of our unique city. And while the Dixie Cups may have brought the song to a national audience, for me, the true version of it is the one sung on the streets—carrying all of our voices together in New Orleans's polyphonic fashion. I know I'll be whistling the tune the rest of the weekend, happily reminiscing of shared celebrations past—listening, dancing, and singing to the song in the streets. I can't wait to sing it all together again soon."

Keep listening!

Check out our Youtube playlist to hear samples of each song that appeared in the bracket, and listen to our "New Orleans Favorites" Spotify playlist for even more great New Orleans music.