During a press conference at last year’s Jazz & Heritage Festival, Mayor Landrieu told me, “There is a way to organize culture without killing it.” Those words are either comforting or alarming, depending upon whom you ask. As David Freedman, the general manager of listener-supported WWOZ-FM (self-proclaimed “Guardians of the Groove”), told me, “An unintended consequence may be the death of spontaneous culture in New Orleans. Some may think this is good for tourism and development, but it is not good for the distinct musical traditions at the core of our identity.”
David Freedman is right. These words are ALARMING. The rationalist as usual thinks that one can “organize” culture. They have little or no appreciation of the power of spontaneous order, jazz being a wonderful instantiation of a spontaneous order. An organized culture is a moribund culture.