Thanks for the following post from Whitney who has been investigating live music venues. I'll be adding as many links as I can to the blog.
"I found a cool area right next to the French Quarter (near cafe dumonde) that has some cool bars and several clubs (music) that is a good mix of tourist and local. It's called Frenchmen's Street (see pics from Flickr http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=%22frenchman's%20street%22&w=all). Has places like Sung Harbor, Spotted Cat, and Vaughn's which all looked cool and have "weekly gigs." You can pop in and hear the person that is playing that night - they are there each week. They seem an easy way to catch some music and local color."