Welcome to the NOMRF.org New Music Tuesday

Our grass roots nonprofit founded by and for displaced musicians now offers the best hour of music relating to New Orleans available, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting NOMRF's efforts. Hundreds of NOMRF grants have gone out thanks to international individual contributions. This download will help that continue. Feel free to repost this blog, with the Katrina Anniversary media focus coming around again.

International rock stars and brilliant New Orleans musicians have all come together to help save the music. This download compilation combines national and local acts because not only is New Orleans the birthplace of jazz, in the 1950's it was the rock and roll hitmaker of the world. The talent is all still there, after two years of struggling to make their way back.

Little Steven's Underground Garage is helping kick off the ReDefine 8/29 Campaign, and YepRoc Records is offering Ian Hunter's signed lyric sheet with email registration. Come on down for our 8/24 New Orleans Party next month. NOMRF will be auctioning off a Headstrong amp with guitar monsters signing it.

NOMRF.org proudly presents the following ReDefine 8/29 Download Compilation at:


The Anthems

Ian Hunter 'How's Your House" (With Video)
Kaiser Chiefs "Out of My Depth" (Previously Unreleased)
The dB's "Rains Around Here (Previously Unreleased)
Beatin Path "Brand New Old House (Previously Unreleased)
James Andrews "Sixth Ward Soul"
Dr. John "Wade IV - The Aftermath"
Johnny Sansone "Poor Man's Paradise"
Chicago Farmer "The Village"

The Ballads

Edwin McCain and Maia Sharp "Hold Out a Hand"
Backyard Tire Fire "Wrong Hand"
Susan Cowsill "Crescent City Snow"
Joe Topping "Lord Willing"
John Rankin "If Ever I Cease to Love"
Bryan Lee "Katrina Was Her Name"
Craig Klein "Dad's Dilemma"
Rev. Goat Carson "Waterfall"

Songs are .99 apiece and downloadable on any platform. Thanks for helping us ReDefine 8/29!

How's Your House by Ian Hunter (Song at NOMRF.org)

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"How's Your House" - New Orleans Benefit Video with Rock Star Lyric Contest!

The Mott the Hoople "All the Young Dudes" and "Cleveland Rocks," artist Ian Hunter has written the ultimate anthem for two years post-Katrina. Log in here to win a signed lyric sheet to this amazing video by Grewvia for the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund.

We also offer downloads from Dr. John to Johnny Sansone to an unreleased Kaiser Chiefs song, "Out of My Depth," all NOMRF for .99. Little Steven's Underground Garage is hosting the contest link, too, so the rockers are out in force. Mike Mills of REM has been promoting the Fund with Little Steven all summer.

Yep Roc Contest Login LINK

Little Steven's Underground Garage

New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund ReDefine 8/29 Download Project at: (NOMRF.org).

How's Your House by Ian Hunter (Download Available at NOMRF)

How's Your House by Ian Hunter (Song at NOMRF.org)

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Get Your Wierd Ass Down to New Orleans

As the years pass, we think about adding a clause to the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund's original mission statement. But nothing has changed. Our social workers are still volunteers who would be helping New Orleans musicians anyway, and we still give grants to displaced musicians. We could add that the Fund promotes the culture of New Orleans, but New Orleans culture speaks for itself.

You just have to get yourself down there to see it.

And if you haven't been down to the Crescent City, nothing anyone could say or do would explain this culture to you. As a sometime artist (blocked since Katrina), the thing that struck me on my first visit was that you cannot be too weird for New Orleans. My best friend not only talked me into moving down, she talked me into singing my goofy songs acapella.

The shocker was when two women stopped me on the street and complimented that week’s set. It was 10 years ago, but when you write your song on a napkin, it's the kind of thing you remember. Acapella napkin songs are not the kind of thing that would get you two fans in most towns. The songs also introduced me to my husband, a producer who suggested I add at least one musical instrument

So get your weird self down to New Orleans with whatever you do or do not play. You will get encouragement, probably sympathy, and life will go on no matter how much baggage you think you drag into your performances.

Tennessee Williams, Ellen Gilchrist, more Midwesterners than I can name have floated downstream and thrived. And it flows both ways. Louis Armstrong was his exact self every day of his life and Chicago fell in love with him. Then the universe did.

New Orleans singer and bandleader James Andrews is known as "The Satchmo of the Ghetto," and James puts more into a live performance than any entertainer I've seen since Neil Diamond on his rotating stage. Hanging out with him is not unlike being on a rotating stage, or a blender - but in the good way.

Pre-Katrina the town did not need to solicit newcomers. One time Laurence Ferlenghetti was at a Hotel Monteleone writers convention and there was an unrelated sex worker convention the same night. We stood by the front door and tried to guess. Poetry. Porn. Poetry. Poetry. It would have made a good drinking game. That night I met Ferlenghetti, but the Andre Codrescu crowd was headed for the Carousel Bar downstairs and, well, it spins.

The Monteleone Carousel is still spinning, and it has inspired generations of artists.

So get your weird ass down there.


Going Green, Purple and Gold

This Runner Up thing is getting old. Springfield, Illinois, just lost out to some other Springfield that’s not nearly as goofy. And the Saints lost the playoff game which I had to watch in Chicago. In the snow. Near Bears fans.

So I’m getting down to New Orleans for this year’s playoffs if it’s the last thing I do. To see Holy Moses blessing the team, and Saints fans in a sea of black and gold fleur de lis. In New Orleans these days, Crescent City imagery is everywhere. We considered Fleur de Lis tattoos while first displaced, but couldn’t afford them. I now need one to match all my friends’ arms. Just like I need an evacuee-issue “Ask Me About Katrina” shirt.

You could stamp anything with a Fleur De Lis and it would fly out of New Orleans craft fair booths these days. "Third World and Proud of It” and Crescent City Water Meter tee shirts are on sale all over. Residents are fiercely holding onto their culture in case no one else does.

New Orleans not only needs tourists and volunteers, it needs converts. And it's starting to get more of them. People who come to Jazz Fest every year to hear Dr. John, who march with the Mardi Gras Indians on their Super Sunday gathering, have been writing the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund and telling us they plan to move to New Orleans to teach in her schools, or build new houses for the hundreds of thousands of residents waiting to come home.

So much waiting is still ahead. I had to miss a good friend’s wedding last year and tell her that Katrina is my busy season. That’s an odd RSVP but it’s true again this year. There will be a brief window when the focus on going green will shift to going purple, gold and green. And maybe on August 30th this year, the camera crews’ lights will stay on for an extended story.

One of my pet peeves is when people don’t tell you their kid’s age, just that he’s 23 months old and you have to mentally divide by 12 to figure it out.

But New Orleans has been ready for its extended closeup for 23 months now.


Raising Awareness vs. Razing Houses

It's not sour grapes, just a question on global awareness and if the spotlight can get to New Orleans before 8/29 this year. Extra factoid - an ISU artist baked that cake for our NOMRF poster project last year.

(Blog Post).


Amber Waves of Grain

Holidays are strange now. Aside from Halloween, costumes of any sort are very limited out here in America.

There's nothing like New Orleans Fourth of July with the bicycle crew. Everyone wears their vintage cowboy regalia - I used to borrow Jeff's hippie vest and we would follow Bicycle Phil around town with friends like Rocketman Jimmy Descant. He's now in Colorado making rocket apartments. Deb and Gary from the Sophisticats have opened Sputnick Ranch on Magazine if anyone needs get cowboyed out in time for the next ride. Katrina ate our vintage bikes.

The first year after the Twin Towers fell there was talk of increased security in New Orleans' Fourth of July Parade. It was a somber feeling and we lined up to watch the floats start rolling with flags and ribbons on our bikes. A cop turned and blew his whistle, which we thought was a signal to back away from the lineup.

"Get in there," he said, waving the bicycle crew to the start of the parade. So we rolled down Decatur with crowds lined up waving little flags, and I was mortified to only have one pair of beads to throw. A feeling of inadequate beads known only to New Orleaneans.

Dressing up for Midsummer Mardi Gras as the Olympic Drinking Team

complete with routines . . .

dressing up for the inauguration, thousands marched . . .

dressing up at the drop of a hat - it's important and I miss it.

Now we're out here in the amber waves of grain, with wind farms popping up across all the local fields. Energy independence is the only local theme I can think of this Independence Day. We've taken to dressing up the Lincoln statue. If there was a parade, I would try to come up with a wind turbine costume. If it was New Orleans I would work on a clogged up MR GO Canal costume. We saved our old costumes, just in case.

Last night was a fireworks show on a new friend's farm. It eventually turned into a kazoo, guitar and bongo jam so that helped me feel a little more at home. We talked a lot about New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund because we're now that couple at the party. And everyone's outfit was perfectly normal.


New Orleans' United Orphans of America

Reprinted from the Huffington Post

"O-r-p-h-a-n-s Orphans, Orphans we're the best. Go Orphans!"

That was my high school basketball team's cheer. We were the Orphans. To prove it, here's Lincoln dressed in festive Orphan gear for the Fourth of July. As legend goes, during the Depression our mining town's basketball team made do with donated uniforms, mismatched and ill fitting. Someone said we looked like a bunch of orphans and it stuck. redhat.jpg

Growing up an Orphan may have made me less reticent about asking for the refugee rate. In the early days after the levees blew, my husband was playing a benefit for his bandmates displaced in Boston -- they have two teenage boys with muscular dystrophy and were trying to survive after evacuating across the country. We drove from Illinois to help.

With time on my hands during his rehearsal, I called Martha's Vineyard which on the map seemed like a short drive from Boston, and asked for the refugee discount. After the resort owner considered what that would be, she offered two nights at no charge and we headed down to the island after the benefit. Plum TV invited us to go on the air and talk about the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. It seemed like a reasonable place for fund-raising so we headed south with my husband's replacement guitar.

I sang "It's Raining," not nearly as well as Irma Thomas, showed photos of the city and when the cable show's host asked when we were going home, Jeff and I looked at each other on camera and started discussing it. We still don't know. Musicians call to talk about the factors involved in going home, and the ones who are back call to talk about what's involved in staying. Rising rent, safety, education, whether the rest of the band is back, a spouse's job, tourism, Road Home grants, insurance settlements, the factors are constantly evolving. NOMRF has given out hundreds of grants, but donor fatigue is obvious and we're shaking the same old bucket as the two-year Anti-Versary of 8/29 approaches.

As far as saving the city's culture, ". . . It is not permissible to watch its destruction, and to replace it with nothing, or by so little that a whole people deteriorates, physically and morally," Alan Paton wrote in Cry the Beloved Country. He wrote it about changing Johannesburg and having seen both cities, the book resonates.

The 100th murder this year has been committed. Drummer Dinerral Shaver's alleged killer was set free when no one would testify against the teenage boy who was accused of shooting into his car, killing Dinerral as his family watched him die. His young son sometimes sits in with the Hot 8, and his generation of New Orleans musicians are the last best hope of our city. The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music is coming along, and will be part of helping children learn about their musical heritage. Efforts like that are inspiring.

For every rumor that Jazz is dying, the answer is that the city where Jazz was born is still alive. In the early days of Jazz it was considered a scandalous word and the music was sometimes advertised as Jos, but everyone knew what they were talking about. As an orphan of New Orleans, I invite you to take a belated 4th of July vacation and go hear our music. Overtip the bands. You can look back and tell your children you helped save Jazz or Jos or whatever it's called by then because there is always a chance to turn things around.

After all, the Orphans have won more games than any other high school team in the history of the United States.

There is one only one thing that has power completely, and that is love. Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has no power. I see only one hope for our country, and that is when white men and black men desiring neither power nor money but desiring only the good of their country, come together to work for it.

- Alan Paton
Cry the Beloved Country

Happy Fourth of July.


Say You're a New Orleans Musician

Say you're a New Orleans musician. You haven't been able to move back to the city where you had a fan base built up for years before the levees broke. For almost two years your return has been delayed as your family debates your children's education, safety, health care, the rising cost of rent, whether your bandmates are back, how much of your equipment you've been able to replace – the list is endless.

Donor fatigue is setting in, Americans gave $7 billion in 2005 and $1 billion in 2006. You're not home so you qualify for help from fewer agencies. You come for weekend gigs when the car is in good shape, you can afford the gas and there's a friend's couch to stay on. Half the couches in New Orleans are still gone. You're trying to get to know the new music scene from halfway across the country. You're not a kid anymore and it's hard to establish a second life.

The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund has a special understanding of displaced musicians, being founded by and for displaced musicians. These are stories we hear every day. Our board member Rickie Castrillo, voice of Tipitina's for decades, evacuated to Birmingham and sometimes plays with Taylor Hicks' old band. He's now moving on to North Carolina and is looking for a permanent home, like the rest of us.

is an independent nonprofit, not a referral agency, so your donation will go to a displaced New Orleans musician instead of going to another fund or business. Most musicians have waited long enough for the help. We welcome yours.