[jja-announce] message from the Jazz Foundation of America

Jazzmandel at aol.com Jazzmandel at aol.com
Wed Aug 30 09:02:12 EDT 2006

Hi people -- you know we don't usually forward other groups' notes via 
jja-announce, but the Jazz Foundation has really been providing outstanding service, 
and our ties with them continue to be good for everyone (they're on the case 
supporting some journalists in need, too). Here's what they sent out yesterday 

stay dry, Howard

 August 29, 2006  

Hello Good People:

Today is the Anniversary of Katrina. I just thought you'd like a copy of 
this, so you could see all you have helped us to achieve, all the miracles we made 
possible, all because of YOU...

If you can, allow yourselves the time to read the entire release, the "Quotes 
from New Orleans" and the "Musician's Story" are something you won't want to 
miss  because YOU directly effected their lives...



Media Contact: Wendy Oxenhorn
The Jazz Foundation of America
212-245-3999 Ext. 27
Wendy at jazzfoundation.org <mailto:Wendy at jazzfoundation.org

Howard Mandel
151 1st Ave.
NY NY 10003
phone 212 533 9495
cell 212 533 4952

One Year Later …
 Saving New Orleans … One Musician at a Time

New York, NY – August 2006 – For 17 years the Jazz Foundation of America 
 has been an organization at the forefront of providing emergency assistance and 
long-term support to veteran jazz and blues musicians across the country. 
 Katrina left countless New Orleans musicians and their families unemployed and 
homeless, with their lives literally washed away.  

“The Jazz Foundation has been a lifesaver to so many musicians from New 
Orleans, giving them the opportunity to work and earn money with dignity. They've 
done more to help the New Orleans Musicians then any other group that I know of.
 - Dr. Michael White, noted New Orleans bandleader/historian

It’s been 18 and even 20 hour days for Jazz Foundation’s Executive Director 
Wendy Oxenhorn and her small staff who “normally” handle 500 cases a year.
Since Katrina,  they've assisted 1,100 New Orleans emergency cases, and were 
still  there for 600 of their regular elderly musicians in crisis who they 
normally serve. But the Jazz Foundation needs to keep going and needs our help.
“Their troubles will not go away anytime soon.  We need people to support 
such organizations as ours who are doing what the government is not ” says 
Jarrett Lilien, President of E*TRADE FINANCIAL and the Jazz Foundation.

“With the Jazz Foundation, It’s simple; you give to them and they give to 
the musicians in crisis who made our lives rich all these years” says Richard 
Parsons, CEO & Chairman of TIME WARNER Inc., “It’s a wonderful organization and 
they do exactly what they say they do.”

This year you’ve seen and heard about the Jazz Foundation on CNN, ABC, NBC, 
CBS, WOR, FOX . HBO, WBGO and NPR  and you’ve read about it in PEOPLE Magazine, 
Wall Street Journal,  NY Times, Post, Daily News, Associated Press and 98 
other publications, television and radio stations around the world.  
It is the work of the Jazz Foundation that attracted people like Danny 
Glover, who joined their Board of Directors, and Richard Parsons, their Board of 
Advisors, and Bill Cosby, Elvis Costello, Quincy Jones, Bonnie Raitt and Chevy 
Chase are also dedicated supporters..
 “As rewarding as it has been to be there for these heroic men & women, it 
has been devastating to see the effects of the aftermath on families. More then 
anything, to see this destruction of a world like no other, where music once 
filled the streets 24 hours a day and it was commonplace to see 12 year olds 
walking home from school, practicing the trumpet.  If low income housing is not 
created for artists and for the poor, the very garden that grew this city of 
music will be at risk of extinction and New Orleans will become a cardboard 
city without a soul” says Wendy Oxenhorn, Executive Director of the Jazz 
Foundation of America.  “We must find a way to bring the people of New Orleans back 
home and stop this unconscionable man-made devastation of American families and 

Jazz Foundation Programs:
·         HOUSING:  Days after the Flood, because of the ongoing efforts and 
contributions of Jarrett Lilien, President of E*TRADE FINANCIAL & JFA, as well 
as the special  people at E*TRADE FINANCIAL Corp., the JFA was able to 
establish New Orleans’  first post-Katrina Emergency Housing Fund for musicians — 
            housing, relocating and saving hundreds of New Orleans musicians 
and their families from homelessness and mortgage foreclosure in nearly 20 

·         EMPLOYMENT: Through the beautiful heart of “Saint Agnes” Varis, of 
Agvar Chemicals Inc, the Jazz Foundation created the first performance 
employment program, which has grown into an $800,000 solution.  This Agnes Varis 
Jazz Foundation in the Schools Program was also made possible with the help of 
Richard Parsons & the good people at TIME WARNER Inc.

To date, this program has already given 3,100 individual employment 
opportunities. It has put several hundred displaced musicians back to work, with a 
minimum of $200 per gig, bringing free performances to thousands of children in 
schools and the elderly in nursing homes, in over eight states where the 
musicians have been forced to settle.
* Recording sessions are being planned to give musicians a CD they can sell 
to help increase income at club & festival gigs.

·         $250,000 OF DONATED INSTRUMENTS:        
Through the huge hearts at Music & Arts Center ,Yamaha and New York’s 
Beethoven pianos  the Jazz Foundation secured over $250,000 worth of new top-shelf 
instruments to New Orleans most beloved senior and junior jazz and blues 
artists, including Treme Brass Band, Rebirth Brass band, The Hot 8, Davell Crawford, 
Shannon Powell, Dr. Michael White, Henry Butler, Lionel Ferbos (age 95) Cyril 
Neville, Derwin Perkins just to name a few.
·          It was the Jazz Foundation of America that replaced Fats Domino’s 
piano after the Flood.



... They came to my rescue..!!!
The JAZZ FOUNDATION of AMERICA is a 'for real' Benefactor...
            Keeping The Music ...and the MUSICIANS....ALIVE!
                          -Harold Battiste,  celebrated 
              (Cher's former music director and started first African 
American owned record label in the 50's to empower the musicians to own their own 

The Jazz Foundation of America it is doing wonders for New Orleans musicians. 
It’s been a beautiful association. They not only housed us but they put us 
back to work. And they are also some of the nicest people I ever knew.    
-            Wardell Quezergue,  celebrated arranger/producer/musician 
           ( "You Send Me", "Chapel of Love," "Mr. Big Stuff") 

“The Jazz Foundation is doing an amazing job preserving New Orleans music, 
its culture and the musicians themselves, for generations to come.”
-James Andrews, noted N.O. musician

“The Jazz Foundation has been keeping us musicians afloat, don’t know what 
we would have done without them. They are doing for us what the government 
should have. “  -  Corey Henry (Lil’ Rascals Band)

“No matter the race, class or genre of jazz, when New Orleans musicians 
needed help, the Jazz Foundation was there with  arms to embrace them”
- Jesse McBride, New Orleans musician
“The physical destruction and psychological vacuum that remains has surpassed 
my wildest imagination. Through the darkness of this disaster the generosity 
of the Jazz Foundation of America, and especially the Agnes Varis/Jazz 
Foundation in Schools Program has helped begin to save one of New Orleans most 
cherished natural resources, it's music.”    Jay Griggs, New Orleans musician


 “It’s hard for people to imagine what it’s like to go through something 
like this, and  to then start over with nothing.  The Jazz Foundation was there 
for us every time … they made it all possible.  I don’t know what we would 
have done without their help. The light is coming back after so much darkness, 
darkness I thought would never end, and now everything’s going to be all right. 
 I am overwhelmed … and so very, very grateful.” — “     
Rodney Rollins, New Orleans musician – former drummer with Irma Thomas

“I find solace in the thought that there are real angels watching out for
us helping to mitigate the burden of the compromises we make in our
fight for a more beautiful world through jazz.”

-Evan Christopher  - noted  New Orleans musician




After being displaced by Katrina, the Rollins family of New Orleans, like 
many Katrina survivors, ended up in a city far from home. There had been 
frightening moments — like having to search for their oldest son who had first stayed 
behind because wouldn’t leave without his dog. They found their son, but the 
police would not allow his one year old puppy, Zina, to evacuate. They had to 
leave her in the house with bags of dog food. Three months later, when they 
were allowed to return, the dog was still alive! The ASPCA would not let their 
son take the large dog out of state until they had a house with a backyard.  

They were forced to settle in Atlanta. Mom, Dad, four children and two baby 
grandchildren, but at least they were alive and together. It was difficult, it 
meant living in a small apartment in a rough part of town.  Ella, mother with 
four children at home, secured a full-time job at a local chain store making 
$233 a week before taxes —

Rodney, her husband, who had always earned his living as a musician in New 
Orleans, was now employed by the same store as his wife, he was working the 
night shift, she was working days. Wendy Oxenhom remembers the day he called in a 
panic.  Their teenage son, Davon, (a young pianist), was in the hospital after 
trying to save the younger ones from a grease fire on the stove. He was so 
worried that they might lose their new home, after all they’d lost in New 
Orleans, that he actually carried what was on fire, out of the house. They didn’t 
know if he would ever be able play piano again because his hands were badly 
burned, he also could not walk for a month and a half because of burns on his feet 
and legs.  They had no health insurance and the Rollins’ needed help.

Months later, Davon has healed, and he can play the piano again and walk just 

“When this first happened I was so depressed” said Davon. ”The Jazz 
Foundation called the hospital social worker and got me Medicaid insurance. Then Wendy 
told me that with all these burns and bandages, I would need some cool 
clothes and they gave me $500 to the best store in town and I even got to rent a 
tuxedo for the Prom. She even got me some gloves to cover my hands, I felt so 
great, I went to the prom and I never thought that would happen. They made me 
feel comfortable with my scars. Wendy emailed and called, always checking on me, 
 like a friend would do.”  

Within a week, The Jazz Foundation moved the family into a wonderful house, 
with a backyard in lovely neighbourhood, thanks to E*TRADE FINANCIAL, where 
they could now be reunited with “Zina” the puppy.   

Currently The Jazz Foundation is trying to help Davon get into college, but it
’s a struggle because his high school transcripts were lost in the Flood. 
They have moved the family back to Louisiana and Rodney will be employed in the 
Jazz in the Schools Program.

“We’re going back to New Orleans,” said Rodney.  “Thanks to the Foundation, 
I will be playing music again, like I am supposed to do on this Earth.  I’m 
getting back my purpose in the world.  I’m getting the music back, and that’s 
what will keep my soul alive.”   

<http://www.jazzfoundation.org/> To make a donation:      
WWW.JAZZFOUNDATION.ORG <http://www.jazzfoundation.org/>

Jazz Foundation acknowledges special thanks and love to all we worked with in 
this effort. What we cannot do alone, we can do together:  Baton Rouge 
Foundation, Musicares, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Higher Ground, N.O. Musicians 
Clinic, NOMHRF, Tipitina’s Foundation. Actor’s Fund, Society of Singers, 
Preservation Hall and all the others who are working as we are, to help keep the 
musicians “afloat.’

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