Helping New Orleans With a Little Help From Our Friends

"Without a concerted effort by the city government to address their needs, there will continue to be a slow bleed of musicians to cities where they feel they will be more appreciated," writes Richard Webster of City Business in New Orleans

A concerted effort by the state and federal government is needed as well, especially since most of the slow bleed is going out of state and could use social services in their new towns as well.

The inimitable Scott Aiges, director of programs for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, "said four new festivals — the Crescent City Blues Festival, the Louisiana Cajun Zydeco Festival, the Congo Square Rhythm Festival and Fiesta Latina — have been created since Katrina to attract tourists and keep musicians employed." writes Webster. He adds that the Foundation has set aside $90,000 to help musicians clear their credit so they can apply for home mortgages. Some of these mortgages may be in the burgeoning Musicians Village which just broke ground on the Ellis Marsalis Educational Center.

Music education is a primary focus for Jazzfest, too. "One of its successes is a community partnership grant program that has set aside $350,000 for artistic and educational programs within the community," Webster says. All that and Crawfish Monica.

Legal aid is part of the package too. "Ashlye Keaton is the supervising attorney with the Entertainment Law Legal Assistance Project, a joint initiative of Tulane Law School, Tipitina's Foundation and the Arts Council of New Orleans. The law clinic started in January 2005, has counseled more than 200 clients and boasts a case resolution rate of 85 percent."

Our New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund hearts friends like Scott, Ashlye, WWOZ's Bob French in his new Musicians Village home, Eric at the Carrolton Station Foundation, Marc at Tipitina's Foundation and a town full of musician / philanthropists including the Marsalis family, Dr. John and Craig Klein - all true friends of New Orleans music.

It takes a village and we're happy to be the grass roots NOMRF village people.

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