This Tuesday is Mardi Gras. I think that New Orleans is the most important place in the United States for music. Which is to say: In the whole wide world.
Yes, I know all about Vienna. La Scala ain't in Rhode Island, though there's plenty of Italians at hand. Heard of Liverpool. Detroit? New York? Los Angeles? Whatever...
It's "whatever", because it's not really whatever in any of those other places. They'e known for one, or maybe a few things. But the fusion, without the loss of any of its component parts, is what I'm talking about. And there has never been a place like New Orleans in the world for that. Louis Prima and Mahalia Jackson are both from there. Everything in between, too.
This fellow from Surrey England came to make his obeisance with the local New Orleans shaman, Mac Rebbenack, for instance. Louis Armstrong made that old traditional song famous, and identified it forever with the Crescent City. But the original St. James Infirmary was likely an ancient Irish/British folk song about a hospital in London.
You can discover yourself in New Orleans music. You're already in there.