Some Louisiana Musicians

This list of Louisiana musicians who perform music traditional to Louisiana or rooted in its traditions provides additional suggestions for student research in Louisiana Voices Unit VI Lesson 6 Louisiana's Musical Legends and is not meant to be exhaustive. The names in bold link to biographies in Louisiana's Legendary Musicians: A Select List. This list also includes musicians who are National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellows, have been recognized by Louisiana Division of the Arts programs, or are featured in Louisiana Folklife Articles - Music Traditions. Some of these musicians are well documented with recordings easily found online, while others will require more research skills.

For an introduction to Louisiana traditional music, see The Treasured Traditions of Louisiana Music, by Ben Sandmel. For photographs of musicians, typical ensembles, instruments, venues, and dances, go to the Louisiana Folklife Photo Gallery and select "Music and Dance."

* denotes deceased

New Orleans


Sidney Bechet - traditional jazz clarinetist soprano saxophonist*
Pete Fountain - present-day traditional jazz and swing clarinetist
Louis Armstrong - cornetist and trumpeter, traditional jazz/swing/popular music*
Jelly Roll Morton - traditional jazz pianist, composer and arranger*
Marsalis Family - present-day progressive jazz performers, composers and educators
Bille and DeDe Pierce - pianist and trumpeter/vocalist, traditional jazz and blues*
Al Hirt - traditional jazz and swing trumpeter*
Joe "King" Oliver - traditional jazz cornetist and composer*
Buddy Bolden - late 19th century jazz cornetist*
Nick LaRocca - early 20th century jazz cornetist*
Louis Prima - trumpeter/vocalist/composer who combined Italian music, jazz, blues, swing, and popular music*
Sweet Emma Barrett - traditional jazz and blues pianist/vocalist*
Doreen Ketchens - present-day clarinetist, traditional jazz/swing
Dr. Michael White - present-day clarinetist, traditional jazz; also a noted jazz historian
Dirty Dozen - first-generation brass band renaissance
Soul Rebels - second-generation brass band renaissance
Danny and Blue Lu Barker - traditional jazz/blues/swing; guitarist/banjoist/vocalist and vocalist, respectively*
Anthony "Tuba Fat" Lacen - present-day traditional/brass band jazz
Doc Cheatham - traditional/swing jazz trumpeter*
Harold Dejan / Olympia Brass Band - traditional jazz saxophonist*
Milton Batiste / Olympia Brass Band - traditional jazz/blues/R&B trumpeter*
Bunk Johnson - traditional jazz trombonist*
Kid Ory - traditional jazz trombonist*
Johnny St. Cyr - traditional jazz banjoist*
Harold Batiste - jazz, R&B, and pop saxophonist, producer, arranger


Bo Dollis - Mardi Gras Indian
Monk Boudreaux - Mardi Gras Indian
Nathaniel Williams - Mardi Gras Indian
Gerald "Jake" Millon - Mardi Gras Indian
Allison "Tootie" Montana - Mardi Gras Indian
Larry Bannock - Mardi Gras Indian
Charles Taylor - Mardi Gras Indian


Ernie K-Doe - rhythm & blues singer*
Irma Thomas - rhythm & blues singer
Fats Domino - rhythm & blues singer/pianist
Professor Longhair - rhythm & blues singer/pianist
Neville Brothers - rhythm & blues group, singers/instrumentalists
Clarence "Frogman" Henry - rhythm & blues singer
Frankie Ford - rhythm & blues singer/pianist
Smiley Lewis - rhythm & blues singer*
Dr. John - rhythm & blues singer/pianist/producer/songwriter
Tami Lynn - rhythm & blues singer
Allen Toussaint - rhythm & blues pianist/songwriter/producer/arranger/singer


Mahalia Jackson - gospel singer*
Paulette Wright-Davis - gospel
Arsi and Vision - African-American gospel
The Friendly Travelers - African-American gospel ensemble
Soulful Heavenly Stars - African-American old-time gospel


Boogie Bill Webb - blues guitarist/singer*
Walter Wolfman Washington - contemporary blues guitarist/singer
Snooks Eaglin - blues/R&B guitarist/singer

South Louisiana


Irvan Perez - Isleño décima singing


Iry LeJeune - Cajun accordionist/singer/songwriter*
Marc Savoy - Cajun accordionist/accordion builder
Dewey Balfa - Cajun fiddler/singer/songwriter*
D. L. Menard - Cajun guitarist/singer/songwriter
BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet (fiddle/vocal) - Cajun renaissance eclectic band
Steve Riley - Cajun accordionist/singer
Joe Falcon - Cajun accordionist/singer*
Amédée Breaux - Cajun accordionist/singer*
Nathan Abshire - Cajun accordionist/singer*
Harry Choates - Cajun/western swing fiddler/singer*
The Hackberry Ramblers - Cajun and western swing band in existence since 1933
Dennis McGee and Sady Courville - Cajun fiddlers/singers*
Wayne Toups - Cajun accordionist/singer
Octa Clark*, Hector Duhon* and the Dixie Ramblers - Cajun band founded in the 1920s
Harry Lee Lefleur - Cajun fiddler
Tony Thibodaux - Cajun fiddler
Lionel Leleux - Cajun fiddler/fiddle maker*
Hadley Castille - Cajun fiddler
Wade Fruge - Cajun fiddler
Doc Guidry - Cajun fiddler*
Nonc Allie Young - Cajun accordionist
Balfa Toujours - Cajun band
Fred Charlie and the Acadiana Cajuns - Cajun
Ken Smith - Cajun fiddler
Belton Richard - Cajun, swamp pop accordionist/singer
Horace Trahan - Cajun/zydeco accordionist/singer
David Greely - Cajun/zydeco/country fiddler, saxophonist, singer


Amédé Ardoin - accordionist/singer*, la musique Creole
Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin - accordionist/singer, la musique Creole
Canray Fontenot - la musique Creole*
Clifton Chenier - zydeco accordionist/harmonicist/singer*
Boozoo Chavis - zydeco accordionist/singer*
Bébé Carriere* (fiddler), Eraste Carriere* (accordionist), and Calvin Carriere (fiddler) - la-la / la musique Creole/zydeco
Inez Catalon - Creole ballad singer
Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural - zydeco accordionist/keyboardist/singer
Geno Delafose - zydeco accordionist/singer
Hiram Sampy -zydeco accordionist*
Warren Ceasar - zydeco trumpeter/singer*
Lynn August - zydeco accordionist/keyboardist/singer
Ann Goodly - zydeco accordionist
Delton Brossard - zydeco accordionist/singer*
Beau Jocque - zydeco accordionist/singer*
Jeffery Broussard, Zydeco Force - zydeco accordionist/singer
L'il Brian Terry - zydeco accordionist/singer
Preston Frank - zydeco fiddler
Keith Frank - zydeco accordionist/singer
Rosie Ledet - zydeco accordionist/singer
John Delafose - zydeco accordionist/singer*
Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas - zydeco accordionist/singer
Sean Ardoin - contemporary zydeco accordionist/singer
Roy "Chubby" Carrier, Jr. - zydeco accordionist/singer
Willis Prudhomme - zydeco accordionist/singer
Terrance Simien- contemporary zydeco accordionist/singer


Cookie and the Cupcakes - swamp pop group*
Phil Phillips - swamp pop singer
Guitar Gable - swamp pop guitarist/singer
Rod Bernard - swamp pop singer
Rockin' Sidney - zydeco/swamp pop/blues singer/accordionist/guitarist
Little Alfred - swamp pop singer
Katie Webster - swamp pop/blues/soul pianist/singer*
Barbara Lynn - swamp pop/blues guitarist/singer
Sonny Bourg - swamp pop drummer/singer


R. David Egan - R&B singer/songwriter/pianist


Bunk Johnson* - traditional jazz trumpeter/cornetist


Lucinda Williams - contemporary country singer/guitarist/songwriter

North Louisiana and the Florida Parishes


Leadbelly* - pre-WWII blues guitarist/singer
Slim Harpo* - 1960s blues harmonicist/singer
Tabby Thomas - traditional Baton Rouge blues guitarist/singer/songwriter
Silas Hogan* and Arthur "Guitar" Kelley* - blues guitar duo
Robert Pete Williams* - traditional blues guitarist/singer
Raful Neal - traditional Baton Rouge blues harmonicist/singer
Henry Gray - blues pianist/singer
Carol Fran - post-WWII blues, swamp pop pianist/singer
Larry Garner - contemporary Baton Rouge blues guitarist/singer
"Po' Henry" Dorsey and Wayne "Tookie" Collum - Delta blues duo of guitar/harmonica
Pee Wee Whitaker - traditional blues trombonist*
Raymond Blakes - traditional blues guitarist/singer*
Clifford Blake - African-American work songs*
Boogie Bill Webb - traditional blues guitarist/singer*
Robert "Smokey Babe" Brown - blues guitarist/singer*
Clarence Edwards - blues guitarist/singer*
Jesse Thomas - blues guitarist/singer*
T-Bone Shingleton - blues
Kenny Acosta - blues guitarist/singer


T. E. "Brownie" Ford - cowboy/country singer/guitarist*
Webb Pierce - country/honky-tonk singer/guitarist*
Governor Jimmie Davis - country/gospel singer/guitarist*
Cox Family - old-time country/bluegrass group
Mickey Gilley - country/rockabilly singer/pianist
Whitstein Brothers - country guitarist and mandolinist, close-harmony vocal duets
Troy DeRamus - old-time country guitarist/singer
Don Mayo - old-time country mandolinist
Ray Bebee - old-time country fiddler*
Herman White - old-time country bassist
Bill Kirkpatrick - old-time country fiddler
Fred Beavers - old-time country fiddler/fiddle maker
Fred Carter - country guitarist
Tony Joe White - country/blues guitarist/singer/songwriter
Laymon Godwin - old-time country
Harold Cavallero - old-time country/Dobro player
Robert Lambert - old-time country
Louisiana Honky-Tonk Band - old-time country
Luke Thompson - country/bluegrass mandolinist/mandolin builder
Amanda Dark - bluegrass fiddler
12th of April - bluegrass


Jerry Lee Lewis - rockabilly pianist/singer
Dale Hawkins - rockabilly singer/songwriter
James Burton - rockabilly/country/blues/rock/pop guitarist, session musician
Maggie Lewis Warwick - rockabilly singer/songwriter
Myra Smith - rockabilly record-company founder*
Kenny Bill Stinson - rockabilly/blues/rock/country pianist/guitarist/singer
Johnny Horton - country singer/songwriter*
Faron Young - country singer/songwriter*
Joe Stampley - country, swamp pop singer songwriter


The Morace Family - British-American contemporary and traditional gospel
Zion Travelers - African-American a cappella gospel quartet
Ever Ready Gospel Singers - African-American gospel quartet
Penola Caesar - African-American gospel/ Dr. Watt's hymns
Otheneil Bridges, Sr. - traditional African-American gospel guitarist/singer
Jimmy Swaggart - British-American gospel pianist/singer
Winnsboro Easter Rock Ensemble - African-American gospel/chant
Brothers in Christ (Singing Cops) - contemporary British-American gospel

Ben Sandmel is a folklorist, journalist, and drummer based in New Orleans. For 18 years he played with and produced the Cajun/western swing band, The Hackberry Ramblers. Sandmel is the author of the books Zydeco! (a collaboration with photographer Rick Olivier) and Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans, This article was written in 2003 to support the music unit in the Louisiana Voices Educator's Guide.