Connick, Marsalis Aid Big Easy Musicians' Village
Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis have teamed with Habitat for Humanity New Orleans Area to build a Musicians' Village in the city.Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis have teamed with Habitat for Humanity New Orleans Area to build a Musicians' Village in the city. The project will provide homes for entertainers displaced earlier this year by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The jazz artists are New Orleans natives and will serve as honorary chairs of HFH's hurricane rebuilding program, Operation Home Delivery. The Musicians' Village will include Habitat-constructed homes, with the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, named for the patriarch of the famous jazz family, as the area's centerpiece.
"Katrina and Rita scattered musicians across the country, and shuttered many clubs and concert venues across the city," says Marsalis. "This plan, this village, will help restore New Orleans' musical heritage, and protect it for the next generation that will follow."
Funding for the project originated with the Sept. 20 Big Apple to the Big Easy benefit concerts held at New York's Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. Additional support will be funneled from recordings like the Recording Industry Association of America compilation "Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now" and Nonesuch's "Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast."
Habitat for Humanity's recovery effort in the city includes building hundreds of homes. The organization is seeking local musicians to help with construction.
"This is very exciting because it uses the Habitat model -- building homes and communities -- and takes it a step farther, to helping hope for the future," says Connick. "Children will grow up in the neighborhoods, in a safe and secure environment, and at the same time the opportunity to become a part of the musical and cultural scene in New Orleans."
Also recovering from Hurricane Katrina is the House of Blues New Orleans, which will reopen for business Dec. 12 on a limited basis. The venue, located in the city's famous French Quarter, will present shows by Dr. John, Cowboy Mouth and Better Than Ezra, among others, through December.
In other relief-related news, AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson and bass guitarist Cliff Williams, Eddie Money and Loverboy are among the acts performing for the Concert for Hurricane Relief Dec. 15 at the Germain Arena in Ft. Myers, Fla. Sponsored by the John Entwistle Foundation, the show will benefit residents displaced by recent storms in Florida.