Upcoming and Recent Events in the New Orleans Area
Jazz Fest 2011 was host to the largest celebration of Haitian culture in the U.S. since last year’s devastating earthquake struck the island nation. An impressive line-up of Haitian musicians and performers, including Wyclef Jean, RAM, Boukman Eksperyans, Djakout #1, and DJA-Rara, were joined at the Fairgrounds by master craftsmen and visual artists. Connections between Haiti and New Orleans run deep, and festival goers saw first-hand examples of the cultural threads that join us, including sequin art, papier-mache and metal work by Haitian artisans that show striking similarities to the artistic traditions of New Orleans. The Haitian Village offered demonstrations of Haitian crafts, arts, and folkways, with panel discussions exploring the Haiti-New Orleans connections found in Carnival, street parading, architecture, beadwork, and Vodou.
WWOZ asks members, listeners, and fans all over the world to consider donating to one of the following charities:
You can find out about many more charities on the excellent Google Disaster Relief page. The page also provides continuous news updates on relief efforts.
Haiti and New Orleans share over two centuries of deep historical and cultural connection. Approximately 90 percent of the Haitian refugees fleeing the Haitian Revolution of 1804 settled in New Orleans in the eary 19th century, doubling the city's size and influencing it literally from the ground up.
A large number of these Haitian immigrants settled in the Faubourg Treme neighborhood, which became one of the first predominately African American neighborhoods in the U.S. The Haitian cultural and musical traditions eventually gave rise to brass bands and second line traditions that still thrive today. Not surprisingly, it's the very same neighborhood where WWOZ was born in 1980.
Haitian immigrants also brought their architectural traditions to New Orleans, especially two of the most popular types of housing in the Crescent City: the Creole cottage and the shotgun house. Some very important New Orleanians - like jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton and WWOZ Volunteer Coordinator Maryse Dejean - also trace their ancestry to Haiti.
The commonalities between New Orleans and Haiti transcend race and geography, from occult traditions and energetic syncopated rhythms to French linguistic roots and violent storms. Unfortunately, they now have one more thing in common: horrific destruction and loss of life caused by a natural disaster.
The days and weeks immediately following such a catastrophe are critical, and like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Haiti cannot rely on government infrastructure to provide relief.
On the Internet, anyone can help from anywhere in the world. The estimated 3 million people affected by this tragedy need everyone's help.