Entertainment Weekly and its Weeks in New Orleans


Finally got an online copy - EW does an amazing job of telling the story in quotes, and trusting New Orleans and its musicians to speak for themselves. Here are some of them:

Dr. John, singer-pianist, New Orleans legend ''I was on tour when Katrina hit. Playing while all that was going down was the worst feeling in the world.''

Irma Thomas, Grammy-winning ''Soul Queen of New Orleans'' ''We left that Saturday to go to a job in Austin. We played the gig Sunday night and said, 'Okay, when we get up Monday morning we'll see what's left of the city.' When we saw the news after breakfast, I turned to my husband and said, 'Baby, we don't have a home to go to.'''

Cyril Neville, the Neville Brothers ''We lost everything. Twenty-five years of reel-to-reel tapes, home movies, writings, my book collection -- all of that's gone. Aaron [Neville, Cyril's brother] lost everything. I lost everything.''

Spencer Bohren ''The musicians came back, but they didn't have gigs, exactly. Johnny Sansone found places for them to play.''

Johnny Sansone, blues harmonica player ''There was a restaurant that wasn't quite open yet. So we started to give shows there. We might take somebody that was a jazz player and have him play with a blues guy. We had Cajun musicians playing with country guys. Just to cheer some people up.''

Robin Chambless, production manager and board member of the New Orleans Musicians' Relief Fund ''I was calling people all over the country saying, I have so-and-so in this town, can you get them a gig? Because nobody wants handouts. Like my mama says, We don't want no handout, we want a hand up!''

Dr. John ''I'm very grateful to the New Orleans Clinic and the New Orleans Musicians' Relief Fund. Small organizations — they've done more than these big organizations with a lot of money. Everything is f---ed up with the politicians and all. There's nobody taking care of business but the people.''

Mitch Landrieu, lieutenant governor of Louisiana ''They basically did Voodoo as a gift to the recovery workers. A lot of the National Guard came.''

Stephen Rehage ''I remember joking, 'I think we can let security go. The audience has machine guns.' Behind the New Orleans stage, I ran out of booze every 15 minutes. Kermit Ruffins, who had to go on at the end of the day -- we found him dancing in the audience. We had to grab him and go, You're up next. Come on!''

Kermit Ruffins, jazz trumpeter ''Yeah, I was hanging out [laughs]. It was a hell of a thing. Just for that little while all the people in the audience forgot what happened, you know.''

Spencer Bohren
''There were a lot of us that had a boycott attitude toward Mardi Gras. I thought, Maybe this once we could suspend the party. And I love Mardi Gras! Finally my son woke up on Saturday morning and said, 'Let's go to Toth, Dad.' Toth is one of the parades. It goes by all the hospitals -- the children's hospital, the insane asylum, all these places where people normally wouldn't see Mardi Gras. So I went, and I was so glad I did. There were more people than I have ever seen. Everyone was just so happy to see each other. I stood corrected.''

Ivan Neville
, funk band Dumpstaphunk ''It was perfect that they had Jazz Fest, to make a statement that we're trying to rebuild this place. Obviously, it's not rebuilt physically. I don't know what they've done to the levees [laughs]. Nobody knows about that.''

Quint Davis ''Fats was closing the festival. I got the call [that he couldn't perform] at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I couldn't believe it. And then we started scrambling, because we had Lionel Richie there but we had to move him from the other end of the field.''

Robin Chambless
''There were a lot of people upset that Lionel Richie closed our Jazz Fest. God love Lionel Richie, but that's not the person we would have chosen.''

Irma Thomas ''I could have closed out the festival, but instead they used Lionel Richie. That's okay [laughs]. I'm sure they've given some thought to that since.''

Trevor Neilson, philanthropic adviser to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ''The New Orleans project with Global Green started with Brad watching the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and wanting to do something to help. The project is an effort to build green, affordable housing in the Lower Ninth Ward. Brad was very upset that the government seemed to be just letting an American city die.''

Mitch Landrieu ''So many entertainers have lent a helping hand. George Clooney was down a couple of months ago in Cameron Parish. Dan Aykroyd has been down to help. Harry Connick's been down here with Branford Marsalis to do Musicians' Village [another housing initiative]. Brad and Angelina have moved here.''

Jason Patterson
, talent buyer, Snug Harbor jazz club ''They used to call this the Big Easy. I don't think that's an appropriate word anymore.''

Glen David Andrews, leader of traditional jazz band Glen David Andrews and the Lazy 6 ''I'm living in a FEMA trailer. F--- that bulls---. I hate the trailer. I hate it, I hate it. They got big plans for the Ninth Ward and they don't include black people, that's for sure.''

Fats Domino ''People all over the world love New Orleans. I love New Orleans. I'm still alive and kicking. I ain't intending to leave.''

Glen gets the "tell us what you really think award," with Robin running a close second. You can download original songs for recovery including Johnny Sansone's "Poor Man's Paradise" and Spencer Bohren's "Long Black Line" at (New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund DOWNLOADS).

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