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A Challenge to Musicians and Music Lovers
Thursday, September 01, 2005 By: Juan Paxety
Help the folks harmed by Katrina
If you are a musician, or care about music, you need to help the folks who gave us modern pop and jazz - the folks of the delta regions of Louisiana and Mississippi. Just as New York and Chicago were great melting pots for America, so was New Orleans. It melted together the musical traditions of France, England, Africa, and Spain and created a uniquely American music - the first world music.
Now the city where this wonderful music was created is underwater. The homes and farms of the folks who moved to New Orleans, or influenced it, are destroyed. And the destruction is far inland. Here's an email I received today from a woman in Jackson, Mississippi
First of all it was worse than "Camille" in 1969. There is no more town of Waveland, MS, and all along the coast from Pascagoula to New Orleans towns and communities have been leveled. Katrina came through Jackson, 150 miles north, as a hurricane at 75-80 miles an hour. Most of the capitol city is without power as well. Also the Old Capitol Museum, built in 1836 and is where I work, had the copper roof peel off and destroy about 6000 artifacts. Staff came Monday and Tuesday, bearing 90+ degree heat inside to move artifacts to safer places until the building can be restored. What an ordeal. Would you believe looters were trying to steal the copper roofing which fell to the ground? Fortunately Capitol Police stopped them. (Looters should all be arrested or worst, in every place where they are stealing,I think.).I'm sitting here without power to tell you this was a horrible situation.
You can help out - probably best by donating money. I'm pushing the Salvation Army as I know it has a long history of helping people in need efficiently and without trying to attract a lot of attention to itself. You can call in a donation to 1-800-SALARMY or donate from anywhere in the world at the organization's web site
The Southern Baptist Convention is the nation's third largest relief agency. It says to donate by contacting your local state agency. I'd think you could also find out how to help by calling your local Baptist Church. Here in Jacksonville, Florida, some of the local churchs are putting up refugees. They could probably use your help, too.
I stress these two organizations because I know they have contacts with the smaller communities. I fear the large organizations will concentrate on New Orleans and will leave out places like Slidell, Pascagoula and Waveland.
Cough up some dough to help these folks out. Donate the money you make on your next gig - or if you've got a record deal, give a point to a charity. You owe the folks in this part of the country a lot.