Tremé Brass Band/Young New Orleans Traditional Brass Band
In New Orleans brass bands are not just for football fight songs and halftime shows. Here the ensembles are a highlight of neighborhood parades organized by the city’s famous black social clubs. They also preside over jazz funerals, in which music accompanies the procession to and from the cemetery. Over the years, the city’s brass bands have molded young musicians, teaching them not only how to play but also about music’s powerful place in New Orleans culture. Old-timers like “Uncle” Lionel Batiste, 77, of the Tremé Brass Band, are making sure that this tradition of learning continues by mentoring children like seven-year-old Jaw Zansey Ramsey of the Young New Orleans Traditional Brass Band.
Left: Founded in 1983, Rodney and Frances Smith’s Soniat House<a> is a 33-room jewel box of a hotel spread over three 1830s town houses. Located in a quiet section of the French Quarter, the antiques-filled inn is out of earshot of the tourist joints but close enough to the action that the sound of a street musician’s bluesy horn occasionally drifts over to the leafy patio. </a>
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts
The city’s stellar arts high school, NOCCA, as it is known to all, boasts an impressive list of alumni that includes Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. Since 1973 the school has shaped thousands of young writers, dancers, musicians and actors, who must audition in order to enroll. Students, such as high school senior Julian Labat (far right) and Martin Mazakowski (with cello), spend half days in traditional schools before heading to NOCCA’s gloriously renovated warehouse complex below the French Quarter, where they learn at the feet of former professionals and visiting masters. The NOCCA Jazz Ensemble is a must-see at the city’s legendary Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Make it Right Foundation’s Pink Project
Brad Pitt founded the Make It Right Foundation in late 2007 with a mission of rebuilding the city’s Lower 9th Ward, an area all but demolished by a levee that broke as a result of the storm. The group’s first initiative, the Pink Project, uses the power of installation art to evoke emotion and inspire discussion as a fundraising tool. This past December, about 450 pink modules were scattered over 14 square blocks of the neighborhood. As donations came in, the modules were gradually assembled to form “houses” made from pink fabric stretched over metal frames. Each pink house represents the promise of a new, environmentally sound home for a Lower 9th Ward property owner. Make It Right will break ground on the first five structures this spring, and as of press time, funds had been raised to complete 80 of the total goal of 150. To contribute to the effort, visit makeitrightnola.org.
See Bruce Weber’s 60 page salute to New Orleans portfolio in our April 2008 issue.
Watch ten exclusive videos of behind-the-scenes experience.