Five years ago, New Orleans was in ruins from Hurricane Katrina. Thousands were displaced, and some never returned to their homes. For many, there was no home to return to.
At the time, Congregation Adath Jeshurun was one of the communities that extended a welcome to refugees. Now, as New Orleans continues to rebuild, the Highlands synagogue brings back four displaced jazz musicians to play their music in a befit for the re-emerging Gulf Region, which continues to be affected by this spring’s oil spill.
“From Bourbon Street to Bourbon Country: Five Years Later” will take place this coming Saturday, September 4, at Congregation Adath Jeshurun, 2401 Woodbourne Avenue, at 8:45 p.m. New Orleans native and clarinet player Dr. Michael White and his quartet of world-renowned musicians will perform, along with Harry Pickens and Bob Sachs, who will present an original short story. A dessert reception will follow, along with bourbon tastings and a meet-and-greet with the artists.
White’s quartet, which has performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, had fled Katrina, leaving all their possessions—including some of their instruments. In Louisville, businesses and organizations took care to provide food and lodging for the tragedy-stricken musicians, and jazz fan Mayor Jerry Abramson presented them with keys to the city.
"I was thrilled how the citizens and businesses in Kentucky supported and helped these musicians whose livelihood had been taken away by Hurricane Katrina,” says Cantor David Lipp. “Now the Gulf region is being ruined again and we need to help." All donations and sponsorships are tax deductible, with the net proceeds going to The Gulf Oil Spill Fund, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation's Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, but donations are gladly accepted. The performance will be taped for later broadcast on WFPK's Kentucky Home Front radio program with John Gage. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.adathjeshurun.com/jazz.
Photo: Courtesy Congregation Adath Jeshurun