See a Dancing Jimmy Buffett Deliver His Final Love Letter to New Orleans

Jimmy Buffett may have been born in Mississippi, but he got to New Orleans as fast as he could. The late “Margaritaville” singer once said, “And you find as a writer there are certain spots on the planet where you write better than others, and I believe in that. And New Orleans is one of them.”

Videos by American Songwriter

Upon graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, Buffett moved to New Orleans and busked on street corners in the French Quarter. The tropical rock legend didn’t stay long, but the Big Easy never left his soul (or music.) Buffett became a nearly annual mainstay at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, even performing the year after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city.

Jimmy Buffett Sang of Love for NOLA on “The University of Bourbon Street”

Buffett’s final album, Equal Strain on All Parts, dropped in November 2023, two months after the singer’s death at 76. Among the 14 tracks is “The University of Bourbon Street,” Buffett’s final, boisterous ode to New Orleans.

Buffett, backed by the iconic Preservation Hall Jazz Band, sings of the practical education New Orleans gave him throughout the years. The video takes viewers through a highlight reel of Buffett’s many decades in the Crescent City.

[RELATED: Posthumous Jimmy Buffett Singles Include “University of Bourbon Street,” Cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mozambique”]

That footage is interspersed with clips of Buffett recording the song in the studio. Despite battling an aggressive form of skin cancer in his final years, the singer is grinning broadly.

Jimmy Buffett ‘Personified Joy’

Today co-anchor Hoda Kotb, also an adopted New Orleanian, wrote after Buffett’s death that the singer-songwriter “personified joy.”

Many visitors would say the same of New Orleans. The Big Easy thrums with life and color 24/7. Buffett’s posthumous single beautifully illustrates how the city gets inside your soul and never leaves.

“From the music and the people / To the cookin’ and the joy / It really ain’t a mystery,” Buffett sang.
“I just followed my dancin’ feet / To the University of Bourbon Street.”

Featured image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Remember When: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Appeared in the Movie ‘Wings of Desire’