In 2007, Father Bill Terry, the rector at St. Anna's Episcopal Church, began listing the names of murdered New Orleans citizens on a board outside the church. Last year, 215 names were printed on the board. So far in 2008, there are over 160 names on the board.
Father Terry and his diverse congregants are committed to living out their spiritual beliefs on the streets of New Orleans. Clearly, something needed to be done to curb the violence plaguing our city. From this concern, and with an orientation grounded in social justice, Horns for Guns was born.
Horns for Guns is a gun buy-back program which, for every gun turned in — no questions asked — offers a child a horn, along with the musical education enabling her or him to use that horn. But Horns for Guns does much more. It offers each child and his or her family a host of services — mental, physical, and spiritual health supports, along with mentoring and vocational training. (If a child is more interested in photography than music, he or she can go into a photography program instead.) Even more importantly, Horns for Guns offers individuals an opportunity to symbolically shift directions — away from violence, and towards more positive life goals.
"The driving force is to begin to address the issues of urban violence at its roots, and its roots are kids," says Father Terry. "If we can help a kid make a different life pattern and offer him an alternative to street culture, and if we can embrace that kid for the vulnerable years of 9 to 17, then we are accomplishing a lot for our community."
Participants in Horns for Guns wishing to pursue a program in music will attend The Roots of Music, an after-school and summer program started by Derek Tabb of the Rebirth Brass Band. In this story, you'll hear children currently in school at The Roots of Music in the reed class led by Allen Dejan (Jesse McBride & the Next Generation) and in the lower brass class led by Edward Lee (The Soul Rebels.)
Also heard in this Street Talk piece is "Didn't He Ramble," recorded by Tuba Fats, along with Frederick Sheppard, Walter Payton, Bob French, John Richardson, Mark Braud, and Craig Klein. Tuba Fats is one of the many musicians Derek Tabb grew up listening to in the Tremé, where he began his music education.
The Horns for Guns kick-off event will be held at two locations — the Tremé Community Center, at 1600 St. Phillip St., and the Progressive Baptist Church, at 1214 S. Robertson St. in Central City. The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on November 1, All Saint's Day.
Each Street Talk report is typically 5 minutes long.