Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011
Saturday November 12 was a day of celebration and community coming together to share in the dedication, ribbon cutting and public grand opening of the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park's new performance and program venue at the Historic Old US Mint in the Vieux Carre New Orleans. The dedication and ribbon cutting marks the successful completion of this progressive partnership project of the Louisiana State Museum (LSM) and the National Park Service. The vision and collaboration started in 2007, when funding from state and federal sources came together under the Centennial Challenge program to partner and move forward on designing and creating a world-class New Orleans jazz museum and state of the art performance and multipurpose use venue in the heart and soul of the birthplace of Jazz – New Orleans. In conjunction with the opening of the new public performance venue the Louisiana State Museum has opened its new stellar jazz exhibit "Preservation Hall at Fifty". New Orleans Jazz NHP will develop a regular interpretive program tour of this great exhibit in support of our partner the LSM.
Our MC for the ceremony and celebration was Ranger Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes who is the voice of New Orleans Jazz NHP. Dedication speeches were delivered by Carol Clark, Supt. JELA/JAZZ; Scott Hutchinson, Mayor's Office City of New Orleans; the Honorable Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne; and the keynote dedication was provided by Mr. David Vela, Southeast Regional Director. Following Director Vela's inspirational dedication the ribbon was cut and the Treme Brass Band struck up, and the Mardi Gras Indians danced to formally welcome our visitor public to their newest addition to the the New Orleans cultural landscape. An afternoon free program of music and celebration followed with the theme of New Orleans' music, culture, and spirit being carried on, passed on, and sustained from one generation to the next. It takes a village. Our oldest performer was in his 80's and our youngest prodigy was 15, and all points in between. It was a superb performance and kudos to Bruce Barnes on his programming of the day. In New York they pay big bucks for this level of artistry.
The Performance and Program Venue is a multi purpose and state of the art facility. It's highest and best use will be to serve the public by offering them enjoyment and self enrichment opportunities through programs and offerings of education, enjoyment, music, dance, arts, and culture; and by furthering the New Orleans Jazz NHP Mission to "to preserve the origins, early history, development and progression of jazz; provide visitors with opportunities to experience the sights, sounds, and places where jazz evolved; and implement innovative ways of establishing jazz educational partnerships that will help to ensure that jazz continues as a vital element of the culture of New Orleans and our Nation.”
The venue has a recording studio, state of the art performance, audio and visual equipment, and will have web streaming broadcast capabilities. We are currently devloping a partnership with the LSM and Loyola University to host internships from its College of Music and Fine Arts and partner in Loyola's web portal. The venue is available Servicewide to host conferences, meetings, and trainings in the Historic French Quarter. Contact the park well in advance for scheduling and planning purposes.