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New Orleans Shuffle: Helping Rebuild the Crescent City

With the devastation of New Orleans came the musical diaspora, spreading the city’s players throughout the U.S. The following is a resource list for the Crescent City music scene, pointing out places that are keeping track of where musicians moved to and how you can contribute to charities providing shelter, money, gigs and instruments.

The Portland Jazz Festival is willing to transport the New Orleans jazz scene to Portland, Ore. The invitation, which is extended to all New Orleans jazz musicians and their families, includes transportation to Portland, temporary housing for up to three months, transportation within the city of Portland, public education for their children and an active jazz network with performance and workshop opportunities. The festival has also said that there will likely be a benefit concert to raise money for the artists performing. The Portland Jazz Festival is set to take place from February 17-26, 2006. For more information, check pdxjazz.com, or e-mail Bill Royston at [email protected] or Sarah Bailen Smith at [email protected]

In Houston, the NOAH (New Orleans and Houston) organization’s mission is to find employment for musicians and to assist them and their families in relocation. More information and a link to donate are available at noahleans.com.

The International Association for Jazz Education has launched a Hurricane Relief Zone at iaje.org/hurricanerelief as part of their IAJE Community Bulletin Board. It’s a forum to post information on fundraising events, offers of assistance and respond to requests for assistance, including employment, instruments and housing.

Although his negatives are safe, jazz photographer Herman Leonard, who was living in the Lakeview area of New Orleans prior to Katrina, lost all of his digital work and equipment. Leonard lives with his granddaughter, India, who has cerebral palsy and microcephaly and is without the medical equipment she uses on a daily basis. Rana Joy Glickman, Jo Winett and Hillary Bratton have formed the Leonard Family Fund to assist the family. Checks can be made payable to the Leonard Family Help Fund, c/o Jo Winett, 10716 Esther Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90064. To donate via Paypal.com, send the transfer to [email protected]

At online record store CD Baby, hundreds of musicians, bands and independent record labels have banded together to donate their entire wholesale price on music sales to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund. To see what musicians are helping with the hurricane relief effort, visit cdbaby.com/redcross.

NewOrleansNetwork.org is a site enabling people to connect with and support the New Orleans refugees in their area. It also allows New Orleans refugees to find each other in their exile communities and organize to take back their city. There will soon be exile community bulletin boards, discussion boards, resource listings, advocacy how-to sheets, events calendars, etc.

The American Federation of Musicians (afm.org), the largest organization in the world representing the interests of professional musicians, has created the Gulf Coast Relief Fund to help members who have been affected by Katrina. Donations can be made online or by sending check or money order to: AFM Gulf Coast Relief Fund, 1501 Broadway, Suite 600, New York, NY 10036.

The New Orleans Musicians Clinic (NOMC) has been busy tracking down local musicians and finding them shelter. Donations will be distributed by the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center (swlahec.com) and can be sent to: NOMC Emergency Fund, SW LA Area Health Education Center Foundation Inc., 103 Independence Blvd., Lafayette, LA 70506

Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) will be addressing the longer-term needs of local jazz and blues artists who have lost everything. JFA will be raising funds and distributing money for musicians to get new apartments or rooms for rent. If you are interested in aiding a local musician in starting over by donating a first month’s rent or possibly more, send donations to: Jazz Foundation of America, 322 West 48th Street 3rd floor, New York, NY 10036. Credit-card donations or pledges can be made at jazzfoundation.org.

In addition to serving as Honorary Chair for Habitat for Humanity’s New Orleans Relief effort, New Orleans native Branford Marsalis has also established the Hurricane Katrina Musicians Relief Fund. The relief fund is administered through Music Education Initiatives Inc. and focuses specifically on relocating musicians and their families, providing funds for food, clothing and medical assistance, rebuilding homes and partnering with other organizations for ongoing relief efforts. Contributions to either organization can be made to: Marsalis Music, Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts, 323 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139. More information at marsalismusic.com.

The Recording Academy’s nonprofit arm, MusiCares (grammy.com/musicares), has been helping musicians since 1989 and the organization has set up its own Hurricane Relief Fund to help those affected by the hurricane. Assistance includes basic living expenses, medical expenses, instrument and recording equipment replacement, relocation costs, school supplies and insurance payments.

The French Quarter’s Preservation Hall, while closed indefinitely because of the hurricane, has established its own New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund. All funds collected will go directly to the New Orleans musicians, many of whom are in their 70s and 80s. Donations can be made by check or phone (phone is preferred) by calling 1-800-957-4026 or by mailing contributions to: New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund, P.O. Box 9081, Miramar Beach, FL 32550.

New Orleans club Tipitina’s is offering a variety of services to New Orleans musicians affected by the hurricane. In addition to soliciting donations for Tipitina’s Foundation, a fund originally established to service the New Orleans community through a music co-op office and an instrument donation program, Tipitina’s Web site (tipitinas.com) offers resources for musicians to register for instruments, gigs, housing, clothing and more; tracks musicians’ whereabouts; offers ways to give money, gigs and equipment to affected musicians; and allows anyone to post requests to help locate missing musicians. The Web site also has a “call for help” section with specific situations needing attention as well as a list of benefit concerts across the United States. More information is available online, and donations can be sent to: Tipitina’s Foundation, 1251 North Ardenwood Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70806.

Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation supports music education by donating instruments to schools and students nationwide. In response to Hurricane Katrina, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) has agreed to match any donation to the foundation, dollar for dollar. Donations can be made at mhopus.org.

Record label and clothing company Ropeadope has created the ReNew Orleans campaign (reneworleans.net), selling T-shirts and stickers with a specially designed logo. All profits will go to New Orleans musicians through the Preservation Hall Hurricane Relief Fund.