Songs in the Key of Water is a cycling tour exploring the history of New Orleans’ water infrastructure, and the stories of the artists shaped by it.
In 2020, we at the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans (TWC) launched “Green Tours”, a sustainable funding model where tourists and residents can learn about our region’s relationship with water and climate, where we are today, and our plans to become climate resilient by 2050. Our tours seek to connect people to the built environment around them and provide context for the structures we often forget about, take for granted, or ignore.
During this tour, you’ll gain an understanding of our often-ignored water infrastructure through music and stories from local musicians and artists. These help to narrate a contemporary story of New Orleans and how it’s been shaped by levees, manhole covers, and pipes. The stories you’ll hear are also framed by Hurricane Katrina, as we recall our pain, trauma, and resiliency as a region and city, 15 years after she hit. Listeners will gain a newfound appreciation for our city’s history, culture, food, and pain, reminding us all that it was not Mother Nature that failed us, but our built environment..
Songs in the Key of Water is a play on Stevie Wonder’'s Grammy award-winning album “Songs in the Key of Life”. The “Key of Life”, also known as the ancient Egyptian symbol Ankh, physically represents the sun, air, and water – the elements that provide and preserve life on Earth. In New Orleans, water is one of our most abundant resources, with the ability to preserve life, or take it away when treated with contempt.
This tour circles much of downtown New Orleans and consists of 15 stops that participants can explore at their own pace. All songs and stories provided are in-kind and are considered a donation to TWC. If you would like a donation form or have specific questions about TWC and our tours, please email [email protected].