New Orleans is launching a major program designed to promote the city's musical heritage, support local musicians and squash local CD piracy. The initiative will be announced today (Sept. 12) by Mayor

New Orleans is launching a major program designed to promote the city's musical heritage, support local musicians and squash local CD piracy. The initiative will be announced today (Sept. 12) by Mayor C. Ray Nagin.

New Orleans has partnered with XM Satellite Radio for a weekly program to expose local talent, "French Quarter Friday Nights." The city has also launched a Web site, realneworleansmusic.com, and is opening an office co-op where musicians can access computers and other equipment for $10 per month.

Additionally, the mayor's office is setting up a Web site where citizens can anonymously report pirates selling counterfeit CDs. A dedicated team of local police will follow up on the tips.

Finally, the city will next month launch a series of professional workshops -- covering such topics as "The Major Label Experience" and "Booking Your Own Tour" -- and is sponsoring a slew of concerts, including an eight-week series starting later this month at local venue the Howlin' Wolf.

Says Nagin, "We are helping our musicians gather the entrepreneurial skills they need to be successful and [are] creating an environment where they can earn a living while building their talents."