Musicians’ Village, a cornerstone of the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) post-Katrina rebuilding effort, is designed to both construct a community and preserve a culture. Conceived by
The core idea behind Musicians’ Village is the establishment of a community for the city’s several generations of musicians and other families, many of whom had lived in inadequate housing prior to the catastrophe and remain displaced in its aftermath. A central part of this vision is the establishment of a focal point for teaching, sharing and preserving the rich musical tradition of a city that has done so much to shape the art of the past century. The concept was quickly embraced by NOAHH, the organization that has developed a model for building single-family homes that low-income families may purchase with zero-interest financing. In keeping with its commitment to build not just homes but communities, NOAHH has given its support to an effort that redefines neighborhood revitalization.
Musicians’ Village is constructed in the Upper Ninth Ward, where an eight-acre parcel of land was initially selected for the construction of 72 single-family homes built by volunteers, donors, sponsors and low-income families. All 72 homes have since been completed. In one of the project’s innovative features, Musicians’ Village also provides five elder-friendly duplexes for the senior members of the community, which have also all been completed.
Another important innovation in the Musicians’ Village effort is the inclusion of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, named in honor of the
Musicians’ Village has proven to be the leading example of how a meaningful vision and focused efforts can provide immediate relief as well as long-term hope for the survival of a great city and many of its most essential citizens.
As one of the many musicians who was nurtured by the vibrant cultural environment in New Orleans, I cannot overstate the importance of the Musicians’ Village. Please lend your support for those artists eager to call New Orleans home again, and for those in future generations who will be the beneficiaries of their knowledge.- Branford Marsalis