New Orleans, Louisiana audio tour: Songs in the Key of Water

About the Tour

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].

Tour Producer


Jessica Dandridge

As the Executive Director of The Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans (TWC), Jessica Dandridge has dedicated her life to community advocacy. Born and raised in New Orleans, she started her career at 16 years old after Hurricane Katrina fighting for equity and justice for black youth and communities. Today New Orleans is facing its biggest risk and opportunity, water. To face these challenges, she focuses on community-led adaptation and mitigation as the core to water justice and climate resiliency strategies. In 2019 she realized that the movement to make New Orleans climate-resilient was more than engineering and science, it was also about education. Since 2019, Jessica and her team teach the true history of the relationship between climate, water, and New Orleans, so we can respect the contributions and create solutions.

Major Landmarks

  • Crescent Park

  • The Jazz Museum

  • Latrobe Park

  • Woldenberg Park

  • Charity Hospital

  • The Superdome

  • Storyville

  • World's End Park

Directions to Starting Point

Please begin at the Cresent Park Bartholomew Parking Lot off Charters and Bartholomew Streets. You'll need to cross two sets of train tracks and a levee wall. You can do so via bike, car, or on foot.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

The French Market, The French Quarter and any of the parks you will be riding through.

Best time of day

Early morning, mid-Day, late afternoon


Stay hydrated and keep an eye out for potholes and debris.


Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.