October 2008 Archives
I'm back down in New Orleans now till Friday. (Notes and images of last Saturday's Black Men of Labor parade to come...) But I'll be gone before the huge, citywide contemporary art biennial begins on Saturday.
That same day, a number of innovative nonprofits join forces for a "Horns for Guns" event at two sites: Tremé Community Center, 1600 St. Philip Street and the Progressive Baptist Church, 1214 S. Robertson Street. Will anyone show up to trade their pieces for mouthpieces and horns? I wonder. But the very idea speaks to the ways in which culture is integral to campaigns throughout the city to reduce the incidence of violent crime, and regarding a wide range of social issues. I remember when thousands marched on City Hall in early 2007, after the murder rate had soared: Members of the Hot 8 Brass Band and other musicians helped lead the charge, and, once the procession had reached its destination, after trombonist Glen David Andrews said from the podium, "We are young black men preaching culture," a chant rose up -- "Music in the Schools!"
The consortium of organizations behind Saturday's event -- among them, Roots of Music, Gulf South Photography Project, and The Porch -- are all worthy of attention and investment, and all speak to restoring and improving the city through its most powerful tool of empowerment: culture.