Jazz fans treat Congo Square – a forlorn square behind the French Quarter – as a sacred spot. Before the Civil War, British colonists forbade their slaves from playing African drums. Only in New Orleans, where the relaxed French culture held sway, were slaves allowed to play their music. Each Sunday, both free and enslaved African-Americans gathered here to drum, dance, and socialize. According to historians, the flourishing of African music in Congo Square provided the roots that bore fruit as jazz in the early 20th century. Today, unfortunately, the park is normally closed during the day. At night, the area can be dangerous. There may not be much to see, but any serious fan of jazz music will want to linger a few minutes at the spot where African rhythms took root in American music.