New Orleans Habitat Musician's Village Musician's Village logo Habitat for Humanity logo

Two people hugging each other Two people looking at the camera

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 New Orleans natives Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis, Musicians’ Village provides a home for both the artists who have defined the city’s culture and the sounds that have shaped the musical vernacular of the world.

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 New Orleans native and legendary jazz pianist, educator and patriarch of the Marsalis clan. Focusing on the ethnically and culturally diverse musical heritage of the city, the Center includes a 170-seat performance space with state-of-the-art lighting and sound.  The Center will support the growth of emerging New Orleans talent and music by providing classrooms, technical and administrative support, and producing the accomplishments of its students.  These facilities are available for residents of Musicians’ Village as well as artists and students citywide. Because of the Center’s unique physical setting within the Musicians’ Village, it will attract an exceptional group of students and teachers devoted to revitalizing the vibrant music scene in the Crescent City.  The Center, an adjacent toddler park and the elder housing units will be administered by New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization.  On September 13, 2007, the ground breaking ceremony for the Center was marked by a musical celebration featuring Ellis, Harry and Branford in performance with several musician residents of the Village.  Construction of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music began in early 2010, and is now complete and operational.


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.

 

 

 
Map of New Orleans area
Krewe Members
  • Branford Marsalis
  • Harry Connick, Jr.
  • Ellis Marsalis
  • Ann Marie Wilkins
  • Quint Davis
  • Jay Marciano
  • Bryan Lourd
  • Rob Light
  • Suzanne & Bob Wright
  • Michele Anthony
  • Elliot Groffman
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • Coran Capshaw
  • Sting
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Kim Burrell
  • Bob Hurwitz

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The music and musicians of New Orleans have always been the city’s heart and soul.  Your support of New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village is the best way to ensure that my home town lifts itself from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina with heart and soul intact.- Harry Connick, Jr.


Video: A Dream Becomes Reality
Video: The Village through Harry's eyes, two years later.



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