With a name fundamentally synonymous with New Orleans culture, Big Freedia knows a thing or two about what draws visitors to its city and where to find the local sounds, sights and flavors that keep them coming back again and again.
That’s why the rebound queen was a natural fit for Jägermeister’s ‘Local Snapshot’ campaign. Connecting with artists who are deeply rooted in the culture of their hometowns, German Digestive Liquor brings stories and genuine recommendations from the artists who know the city best to this authentic community. In the latest “local snapshot,” Big Freedia, the bouncy music pioneer who’s collaborated with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Drake and more, shines a light on the New Orleans spaces she loves and talks about what makes his city so special.
“We open our doors to people who come here to visit and spend time in New Orleans and feel the music, the culture, the food, and most importantly, the people who make up the city and our southern hospitality,” Freedia said. “All of these components make up New Orleans and it’s such a great place that there’s no place like it in the world.”
No one knows what a great place New Orleans is to visit more than we do here at ESSENCE, as it’s the site of our annual ESSENCE music and culture festival. However, as a native, Freedia has particular insights and advice on where every traveler should visit when they come to her city. In addition to mainstays like Café Du Monde (for its famous beignets) and the French Quarter (for its famous dining and party experience), there are a few options that might not be as familiar to a first-time visitor.
“There is JAMNOLA, a museum made up of works of art by different local artists,” she continued. “It features things like a pot of crawfish that you can stand in and all types of beads on the floor of the museum. There are big statues of me, Lil Wayne and Louis Armstrong.
“There’s also Love on Claiborne, Claiborne street where there are just tons of clubs and restaurants and local eateries like Manchu Chicken – the little purple shop around the corner where everyone loves their fried chicken .”
And for those who appreciate the neighborhood chill, Freedia says there’s more to it than the main street of Bourbon.
“Frenchmen Street, which is a bit further down the block, has lots of local venues playing all types of music. You could have a bounce concert on French people, you could have a jazz concert on French people,” she said. “People love getting out on the club scene and seeing what’s going on, it gives them the opportunity to see what’s going on in the rebound world and how DJs and people interact.”
Speaking of the world of Bounce, Freedia is an ambassador not only for her iconic city, but also for her signature sound that other genres are constantly borrowing and emulating. Despite its staying power and influence, Bounce music and the dance that accompanies it tends to get a bad rap from some who see the genre as a raunchy expression, rather than a deeply cultural one. But that’s a criticism that Freedia simply lets go of.
“Well, when I define Bounce music, it’s up-tempo, heavy base, call and response type music. It has a lot to do with dancing and moving body parts, but it’s local music that’s been around for decades and that’s our tradition here,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if they call it ratchet, or ghetto, or try to make it too sexualized, [everyone from] babies to grandmas love to twerk and have fun, because it’s fun music.
“It’s just a part of our culture, like any other place that has [local] underground music for so long in their city. It’s no different from Go-Go or Chicago club music or any other local music that really exists.
“Since I’m at the forefront, I’ve always been able to change the
perception of what people think of Bounce music,” she said. Indeed, her signature sound has led her to lend her voice to tracks with some of the best artists in the world.
“Every time I’m on a different song, I always keep the gist of what I love to do in everything. So if you have artists like Beyonce and Drake and Lady Gaga and so many others who love the sound , we see nothing wrong with bouncing it.
In addition to continuing to bounce back with her next tour with Trombone Shorty, she is also embarking on a new adventure: the hotel business. Freedia will soon open its own boutique hotel in the city’s iconic French Quarter.
“It’s actually just around the area of the French, which is a bit at the back of the neighborhood. It will only have three hotel rooms and my restaurant will also be connected to it where people will have the chance to come in, sample Freedia’s recipes and get the full New Orleans rebound experience,” she said.
“It will be a place where people can come if they want to have a cup of coffee in the morning and work on their computer, it will also be a great event space for people to come over for dinner,” she said.
“It will also turn into a club space where people can come party and see a concert,” she continued, referring to the pool that turns into a dance floor for events. “There will be so much going on at the Freedia Hotel that all the locals and tourists will stop by to see what’s going on.”