Helping the musicians of New Orleans

Nicki Rivers forwards this letter, describing an opportunity for you to help the musicians of New Orleans:

Dear Friends of Jazz,

In the last two weeks we have been brainstorming about how to raise some money specifically for the musicians of New Orleans to get back on their feet after hurricane Katrina. Clearly, what has happened down there in the cradle of jazz is utterly devastating and desperately endangers this invaluable segment of the cultural heritage of the nation.

More than any city I can think of, in New Orleans it is the people and the great and unique culture that make the place. NOLA has a particularly vibrant music scene which stems from its community of extended families, both black and white, middle and working class. The tourists will probably eventually return to visit the French Quarter and the Garden District. But a big part of the future of New Orleans depends on whether these families, now scattered throughout Texas and the South, will be willing and able to return to rebuild their homes and to restore their neighborhoods, customs and culture. Without them, visiting a cleaned up NOLA will be like visiting a theme park. We have to help and time is of the essence.

After spending some time trying to identify which organization might be the best one to focus our awareness on, I have been pointed to the Jazz Foundation of America (JFA), a wonderful group helping musicians in need. Since the New Orleans Musicians Clinic (N.O.M.C.) is now operating outside of its own office, without access to its usual bank accounts, the JFA has been designated the official donation coordinator for the N.O.M.C.

For details about all the great things the JFA is trying to do, go to:

Some of their goals are to:
  • create employment opportunities (as they did after 9/11 with their Jazz in the Schools program in NYC which employed over 400 musicians a year)
  • rebuild lives
  • to house them (E*TRADE Financial Group just gave $100,000 to go directly to a first month’s rent for our New Orleans & Delta displaced musicians)
  • put food on their tables
  • keep them from eviction and homelessness
  • pay phone bills and keep the electricity turned on
  • offer pro bono legal services as well as our pro bono network of physicians and specialists
Through the N.O.M.C. they will be also be employing musicians to play at nearby shelters to lift spirits, repair and replace instruments, repair their souls by taking the time to have long talks on the phone, seven nights a week, and keeping spirits up when it seems that all is lost. They are also working with the Tipitina’s Foundation, whose first step is to locate all New Orleans artists and their families and then find housing for those who need it. And that is just the beginning.

Please check these folks out and give what you can. All it takes is one click.

Thanks for your time and attention!
Kitty Margolis
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