June 2008 Breadcast
Slideshow by Brian Duss & Margaret Cohen
Photos from New Orleans
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Musicians' Village sign
Musicians' Village, a cornerstone of the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity 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 will provide 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.
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Musicians' Village is being constructed in the Upper Ninth Ward, where an eight-acre parcel of land was selected for the construction of 72 single-family homes built by volunteers, donors, sponsors and low-income families. All 72 homes have either been completed or are under construction.
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Across the street
Houses just across the street from Musicians' Village remain as reminders of the area devastation.
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Bob French and Smokey Joe
In one of the project's innovative features, Musicians' Village also provides elder-friendly duplexes for the senior members of the community. In the fall of September 2007, drummers Bob French and Smokey Johnson, moved into their apartments.
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Bob French in front of his Musicians' Village home
New Orleans jazz musician Bob French stands in front of his Musician Village home. The Master Musicians In-Residence is designed to provide affordable rental housing for older musicians who may not otherwise qualify for home purchases. Musicians like Bob French have also pledged to mentor up-and-coming musically gifted youth from the area.
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Bob French muses on life
When they started talking about the concept they were saying, "Musicians' Village should be only for old, retired musicians," Bob French recalls. "Musicians don't retire--they die. There's no reason for me to retire. What am I going to do?"
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An old photo
New Orleans greats Bob French, Smokey Johnson, and John Boudreaux in a photo from the 1960's. Their careers include stints with Fats Domino, the Neville Brothers, and Ellis Marslais.
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Little Freddie King's mailbox
Bob’s next door neighbor is Little Freddie King. Having played guitar with Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker, Little Freddie also played bass for Freddy King during one of the guitarist's stints in New Orleans. People began comparing the two musicians' styles, hence his nome-de-plume.
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Brian at work
Bread for the World Multimedia Associate Brian Duss hard at work collecting interviews for another one of his great Breadcasts.
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A different kind of Spring Break
Students from colleges around the country spend their Spring Break doing construction work on the project.
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Putting the finishing touches on
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.
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Thousands of generous spirits
More than 34,000 volunteers donated their time to building Musicians' Village last year.
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Laying utility lines and pipes
Habitat sells the houses for $75,000, which is paid over 30 years through a zero-interest loan. To qualify for the program you must have good or no credit, a need for housing and make a minimum yearly income of $18,620. (Maximum yearly income depends on the number of people in the household). Applications are based on the following three criteria: 1) ability to pay 2) need for shelter 3)willingness to partner.
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Making something completely new
"This is very exciting because it uses the Habitat model—building homes and communities—and it takes it another step, to help build hope for the future," said Harry Connick, Jr. "Children will grow up in the neighborhoods, in a safe and secure environment, and at the same time have the opportunity to become a part of the musical and cultural scene of New Orleans."
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Architects drawing of the completed project
The centerpiece of Musicians' Village will be the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music. The Center mission is to educate and develop of the next generation of New Orleans music enthusiasts, and to help preserve New Orleans' unique musical heritage.
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Sister Jane tells the story
Long-time Bread member and activist, Sister Jane Remson, talks about the vital tie between direct service and advocacy in helping hungry and poor people in her New Orleans community, and around the world.
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Sisters Jane Remson and Helen Ojario
Sisters Jane Remson and Helen Ojario show a banner from one of the many projects the New Orleans-area Bread for the World chapter has helped originate.
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Houses used to be here
In many places, concrete steps are all that's left standing in once-thriving neighborhoods in the Lower Ninth Ward.
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Homelessness is rampant
The homeless population in New Orleans has reached unprecedented levels for a U.S. city: one in 25 residents, according to the homeless advocacy group UNITY of Greater New Orleans.
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A few blocks from Bourbon Street
Almost three years after Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of people live in this tent city under the highway overpass, just blocks from New Orleans thriving French Quarter.
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The few area shelters that remained after the storm became overwhelmed with displaced families; people who had regularly relied on these residences—many battling mental illness and substance abuse—ended up with no other options than to live on the streets.
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Living under the overpass
Many of the homeless are also Katrina evacuees who returned to unaffordable rents or who slipped through the cracks of the federal system designed to provide temporary housing after the storm, according to UNITY.