Mardi Gras Fashion Police

If this year's Oscar fashions were too tame for your taste, check out the Saving NOLA Mardi Gras Open House. Styles were more Bjork than Tilda Swinton, so mix up a Sazerac, crank some Subdudes and check it out (HERE).

Our internet connection died (so much for liveblogging) and an ebay strike postponed the rock auction so clearly we're on New Orleans time. Photos of rockers and relief workers decked out in Zulu beads and solidarity have been trickling in for weeks.

For rebuilding style, come down to the Gulf Coast for festival season and shop for merchandise at the Save NOLA Now Store in Jax Brewery. Their tee shirts and handbags benefit the Habitat for Humanity Musicians Village, New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, Global Green and Make it Right.

Happy 3-weeks-after-Mardi Gras. We loved this guy's feathers, by the way. Discuss among yourselves.



Free at Last: Second Line Released from Charges

Glen David Andrews, a member of the Jessie Hill musical dynasty, just had charges dismissed by New Orleans City Attorney, as well as Derrick Tabb. Both musicians were cited last fall while marching in a memorial second line for Kerwin James who fell ill far from home, as so many other New Orleans musicians have.

There are no hard and fast figures for how many. A filmmaker just asked me exactly how many New Orleans musicians have died of heartbreak before they had a chance to move back. If the funding existed for that study, we would give it to displaced musicians. The only overall mortality study that exists is from an individual who counted obituaries.

Before Katrina led to his displacement, Kerwin was a member of the New Birth Brass Band, and his brothers were in the Rebirth Brass Band. In the middle of their heartbreak, to be arrested at a funeral march is unimaginable. Tanio Hingle of the New Birth Brass Band is doing his best to come back to the city, but a van the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund donated to him has already been stolen.

It's an ongoing struggle and here's some back story. Glen was part of the rally when Dinerral Shavers of the Hot 8 Brass Band and filmmaker Helen Hill, both beloved members of the New Orleans arts community, were murdered in unrelated incidents. It hit close to home - at the time Dinerral's bandmate was living in an apartment NOMRF provides.

Thousands of residents rose up, and Silence is Violence has kept that movement alive. Andrews marched up the steps of City Hall at the Silence is Violence rally and said, "I'm scared to death of the police." The Mayor showed up to speak, but rally organizers turned him down. He could speak anytime - this was their day. Katrina has given many the ability to speak truth to power. What do we have to lose?

Glen was charged with "disturbing the peace by tumultuous manner" while playing "I'll Fly Away," a traditional funeral march. His cousin, James Andrews, wrote Sixth Ward Soul (HERE), a description of what has changed after the levees broke. Last spring, Dr. John led a second line (pictured above) to dedicate a headstone to James' grandfather Jessie Hill in a cemetery that is still a shambles

New Orleans needs every available voice, and thankfully Dr. John is there for us. He has an album (I still call them albums) coming up in the spring that's so badass I'm going to listen to it all day every day. Because every voice is crucial.

There's so much we still have to lose.


Kaiser Chiefs Rock Brit Awards and New Orleans Anthem

Indy darlings the Kaiser Chiefs, expected to play the Brit Awards in collaboration with Sir Paul McCartney, are nominated for two of tonight's awards and their benefit track Out of My Depth is exclusively available on ReDefine 8/29 Downloads.

Rolling Stone Magazine reviewed Out of My Depth as a fine stomp with overtones of a "pissed off Badfinger."

The song's chorus is a rallying cry against apathy for New Orleans musicians still coming home to a city with fewer gigs and higher rents:

(Song preview (HERE).)

I get out of my depth
until nothing is left
and it's only coming up to our hips

I get out of my depth
unless something is said
if you ignore it then it doesn't exist

The last line is especially telling as mainstream media outlets narrow their stories to Mardi Gras, the Katrina Anniversary and sporting events like the NBA All-Star Game that New Orleans is doing a spectacular job of hosting. The BBC has covered the ongoing struggles of New Orleans evacuees extensively, and New Orleans legends who sell out European tours but rarely get booked in the states can attest to the difference in support.

Two more Brits who have pitched in on the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund's ReDefine 8/29 are Ian Hunter (All the Young Dudes) with his How's Your House anthem and Grewvia video, and Liverpool's Joe Topping who not only donated his ballad, Lord Willing, he also hiked from Chicago to New Orleans to help raise awareness for the city.

Thankfully London is still calling.


Auction to Keep New Orleans Rock Rolling

The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, Global Green, Habitat for Humanity, Make it Right and Saving NOLA Now hosted Mardi Gras Day at the Circle Bar for relief workers and musicians including Papa Mali, Kirk Joseph (Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove), Viki Peterson (The Bangles), Mike Mills (REM), Bill Davis (Dash Riprock), Rev. Goat Carson (Dr. John), Don Williams (The Revealers), Susan Cowsill, Russ Broussard, Abby Travis (The Bangles), Dave Clements (Plowboys), Joey Torrez (Clockwork Elvis), and as many as we could fit on the balcony.

To keep the help rolling, you'll soon be able to bid on items including an autographed Dream Girls poster by Jamie Foxx; cast-signed script to Criminal Minds; 40th anniversary strat signed by Little Steven; and signed, numbered museum quality prints by legendary rock photographers William Coupon and Curtis Knapp including the Marsalis family, and an original book print of REM.

With a new cd and tour in the works, REM has supported New Orleans musicians by releasing an Entertainment Weekly video at the Katrina anniversary, donating a live South Central Rain track from Dublin to ReDefine 8/29, signing the lyrics to Everybody Hurts for auction, and Mills playing at our Dr. John benefit for Wardell Quezergue.

A series of Rock Tree posters signed by Little Steven (E-street Band), Mills, Dr. John, Susan Cowsill, John Sinclair (MC5, now with Radio Free Amsterdam) and Jeff Beninato (the dB's), will be available soon. William Coupon's museum quality Dr. John print (below), embellished by the Good Doctor, is the first photo up for auction at (www.nomrf.org)

This trip home, we were able to help a musician out with medical bills, and donate replacement instruments. NOMRF has been blessed with some of the best friends New Orleans musicians could have, and they still need all the friends they can get.