New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Center

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.

Funding Received: 2012
New Orleans, LA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 13, 2013

Heritage School of Music students. Photo courtesy of New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Center

Update and Reflection
As bricks and mortar come together on Rampart St., we are focused on another essential element to building a successful Jazz & Heritage Center: the students. September 14th we held auditions for the 23rd class of our Don Jamison Heritage School of Music. We are more pleased than ever about the talented budding musicians we saw come through the doors of the Cook Fine Arts Center at Dillard University. This year’s curriculum has been structured slightly differently than in years past. Instead of two segments each Saturday, students will have three. This will allow for weekly music theory lessons and cross training, where musicians will have a chance to learn basic skills in other instruments—a drummer will receive periodic lessons on the piano, voice training, etc. We’ve already scheduled several master classes with visiting musicians, including Italian drummer/composer Andrea Marcelli and legendary bass player Todd Coolman. Seeing the kids back in the classroom makes us that much more excited for September 2014, when they’ll have a brand new, state of the art Center for music learning.

Recent Wins
The Saenger Theater reopened after a $52 million renovation with a three-show, two-night stand from Jerry Seinfeld on Sept. 27th & 28th. Jazz Fest veteran Bonnie Rait will play there on Dec. 7th. The Saenger is a little less than a mile down Rampart St. from the Jazz & Heritage Center.

Free weekly concerts in Armstrong Park, titled Jazz in the Park, started up again on September 5th after a summer hiatus. The concerts bring hundreds into the Treme each week to enjoy music, food, arts and crafts, and children’s activities in the park.

The long-debated Habana Outpost has finally received approval from the Vieux Carre Commission. The new restaurant will be built across the street from the Jazz & Heritage Center in an abandoned gas station.

Demolition on the Iberville Housing Complex began on September 10th. The City of New Orleans will build 821 mixed-income housing units in its place. The completed project – which will include a 122-apartment building for elderly residents – will challenge the Foundation to offer new and expanded programming to serve our new neighbors.

A win for the local bee community: about 30,000 bees – and about a dozen jars of dark, sweet honey – were removed from the Jazz & Heritage Center prior to construction beginning. The bees have been relocated across Lake Pontchartrain and are at work making honey again.

We’re thinking a lot about fundraising this month. In October, we’ll be hosting a cultivation event for local philanthropists and for many of them, it’ll be the first they’ve heard about the work we do in the community. It’ll be an opportunity to educate them about the Heritage School of Music, Jazz & Heritage Center, and everything else we do aside from Jazz Fest. Part of our challenge is differentiating the Foundation, with all of our year-round programs, from the Festival, which is how most people know us. We wonder if other organizations, particularly ones that are hybrids like ours, have this problem and how they approach branding each arm of the organization as separate entities doing separate, though related work.