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Stitching up New Orleans | Katrina hit two years ago
this week. How far has the city come, how far does
it have to go?

Breaking the rhythm

August 27, 2007|Bill Taylor | Bill Taylor is executive director of a 10-year-old musicians' co-op and nonprofit offshoot of the legendary New Orleans nightclub Tipitina's.

Not enough has changed. It's amazing how devastated New Orleans remains. My concern is the effect on the music and culture of the city, traditions passed down organically via neighborhoods, families and homes. It happened naturally, that perpetuation of cultural information. Now that line of cultural transmission has been fractured.

Before the storm, Tipitina's Foundation was focused on uplifting the music culture of the city. After the storm, it's about saving that same culture.

We run after-school programs, workshops, co-ops. We work with kids and all the way up to elderly musicians. On Aug. 29, the two-year anniversary of the storm, we are giving half a million dollars' worth of new musical instruments to New Orleans public schools. We're getting ready to release a Fats Domino tribute recording, featuring Paul McCartney, Joss Stone, Neil Young and Tom Petty. A percentage of the proceeds will go toward bringing back the Lower 9th Ward, where Fats Domino has lived his entire life.

This is the breeding ground. This is where jazz and blues began. As time passes, the lack of improvement continues, and we're in danger of losing one of the most important natural resources in America.

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