Preservation Hall Foundation launches Legacy Program Emergency Relief Fund to support musicians in this difficult time


Legendary piano player Lawrence Cotton, who turned 93 this past February, is the oldest regularly (weekly) performing musician in New Orleans. He was the pianist with Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, Dave Bartholomew, Edgar Blanchard and Danny White.

He is also one of the 60 members of the Preservation Hall Musical Collective. Its musicians include such artists as Charlie Gabriel, Rickie Monie, Joe Lastie, Freddie Lonzo, Wendell Brunious and Lester Caliste.

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New Orleans’ Preservation Hall is a cornerstone of New Orleans music and culture, established in 1961 to honor one of America’s truest art forms — Traditional New Orleans Jazz. It operates as a music venue, a touring band, an valuable educational resource and a nonprofit organization. This cherished collective of musicians play, teach, create, compose, entertain and enrich our lives on a daily basis and they need help.

With the closure of Preservation Hall and all music venues in New Orleans due to COVID19, the musical collective faces unprecedented challenges. There is no work, growing health risks and indefinite economic uncertainties for all its musicians.

To address these challenges, the Preservation Hall Foundation has launched the Legacy Program Emergency Relief Fund to assist the musical collective affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

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“Several musicians from the Preservation Hall Musical Collective have tested positive for COVID-19,” says Director of Programs Ashley Shabankareh. “They are currently on the road to recovery, and we’re here to support them.”

The Legacy Program Emergency Fund will assist musicians with medical expenses, lodging, food, and other vital living expenses due to illness or loss of work.

0 3“We are marshaling all of our resources toward caring for our musical collective and helping them weather this crisis,” says Shabankareh. “It’s vital that we get resources into their hands immediately in order to meet their critical needs.”

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The organization is remaining active and is posting footage from past videos over the coming month so the public can keep up with the Preservation Hall Foundation, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Preservation Hall.

“In addition to past concert footage, we’ll also be doing live-streaming lessons to learn new skills, as well as host Zoom private lessons with our incredible Musical Collective,” says Shabankareh.

She believes music is the universal language and can be used to communicate with one another about how we’re feeling, the experiences we’re having and so much more.

“Now more than ever, music is helping us navigate our emotions in the midst of uncertainty,” she says. “It’s helping us unite with one another, and it’s spreading joy.”

We know that New Orleans musicians in our community are incredibly resilient and certainly know how to improvise.

“Throughout this time, they have found new ways to create and share their music,” Shabankareh. “While we don’t know how long the effects of COVID-19 will last, we do know that once we are allowed to reopen our doors, we will be ready to play our joyous music for individuals around the world.”



Mission: The Preservation Hall Foundation, founded in 2011, is based on the ethos, values and practices of Preservation Hall and brings them to life in classrooms, detention centers, concert venues, and community centers around New Orleans, the nation, and the world. The Foundation protects, preserves, and perpetuates the musical traditions and heritage of New Orleans through its four program areas: Education, Community Engagement, Legacy and Archives.

How You Can Help: You can visit the Preservation Hall Foundation’s Legacy Emergency Relief Fund website here.




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