Heart of Louisiana: Tim Laughlin

Updated: May. 5, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - It’s become an evening ritual for a small group of friends and neighbors who gather proper distancing on a French Quarter street enjoying a sound that started here more than a month ago.

It’s a sound that’s been missing until now.

“It’s been pretty surreal to just be on your own and have to be creative and it takes getting used to,” says musician Tim Laughlin.

Laughlin, who is a Jazz clarinetist, would normally be playing with a band at French Quarter clubs and festivals. A few weeks ago, he decided to play from his balcony in the middle of the French Quarter.

He describes the first time he played from his balcony.

“Nobody walked by but neighbors were cracking the windows and coming out. And, I’m like, well, this is kind of nice,” says Laughlin. “And I liked the way it sounded from the hitting the wood balcony floor, bouncing out into the buildings and the air, harmonics and overtones all blended together.”

His neighbors also liked the sound. They began coming out at a safe distance bringing a few chairs and maybe a drink to enjoy what they’d been missing so much.

“Tim is such a great clarinetist and he does such a great job,” says one neighbor. “It just gives you a sense of New Orleans.”

“It’s kind of taken the place of Jazz Fest to a small degree,” says another neighbor.

He really did write a song a few hours ago scratching out the chords and a melody on a sheet of paper.

“And thought about them and thought about how I felt playing out there and going through all this mess,” says Laughlin.

For people who live in the historic center of New Orleans, they’ve been missing these sounds. The street musicians, the occasional brass band and kids tapping out a rhythm on a bucket, the clip-clop of horse and buggy and the laughter.

“This is what brings is back to life. This energy,” says one neighbor.

It’s a sweet, mellow, comforting sound that’s helping neighbors reconnect with the soul of their hometown.

Tim Laughlin recently recorded a new CD of all original songs called “New Standards” that he planned to release for French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest.

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