01/04/06

Marsalis and Connick Create Community for Katrina Victims

Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. (pictured) joined Louisiana officials last month to announce plans to build a New Orleans housing community for local musicians who were displaced from their homes by Hurricane Katrina.

The community, which is being built through Habitat for Humanity, will include hundreds of houses and an education center called the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music

The project is being partially funded by proceeds from recent benefit concerts and recordings, according to a press release from Habitat for Humanity, including the Sept. 20, 2005 From the Big Apple to the Big Easy performances at Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall; Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now, a collaboration CD by the Recording Industry Association of America; and Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast, a compilation CD from Nonesuch Records.

Marsalis and Connick, New Orleans natives who are honorary chairs of Habitat’s hurricane rebuilding program, conceived of the idea for the community after learning so many Louisiana musicians were scattered across the country without permanent housing.

Marsalis said in a press release that he hopes this project will help restore New Orleans’ musical heritage, which is as vital to the city as its food and culture.

The housing community will take several years to build and Habitat for Humanity is working to identify local musicians who are willing to pay a no-profit mortgage.

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