The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation started 2008 with a bold plan to expand.
The previous year had seen unprecedented increases in the Foundation’s activities. New festivals, growing educational offerings, new housing initiatives, larger grant distributions and new economic development projects all attest to the Foundation’s momentum.
Then something wonderful happened. The building that is literally next door to the Foundation’s longtime offices on North Rampart Street became available.
The former Tharp Sontheimer Laudumiey mortuary at 1225 N. Rampart St. is a beautiful, historic building — an ornate structure with Gothic columns and 11,000 square feet of usable space and a large parking lot.
The Foundation purchased the building.
The goal? To continue to support our community with a new hub of activity: an education and community center.
For the first time, our Heritage School of Music will have a home of its own, with seven state-of-the-art classrooms (including dedicated drum and piano labs). There will also be a 200-seat auditorium that we'll use for our own concerts, lectures and other events. And we'll make the building available as needed to the community for a wide range of uses - computer access centers, meeting space, rehearsal facilities and more.
Ambitions are high, as are our hopes.
Who else but the Jazz & Heritage Foundation would undertake such a significant new development project in the Tremé?
It’s a historic neighborhood — one of the nation’s oldest African–American communities with a long, colorful story of social and cultural activism. But like much of urban America, it has suffered major blows, especially since Hurricane Katrina.
The Foundation’s expansion plans will pump millions of dollars into the Tremé, which will in turn lead to new developments and greater growth in the surrounding area.
In December 2014 we cut the ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of what is now known as the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, named in honor of the couple who launched Jazz Fest in 1970.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation: Expanding our horizons, enhancing our community.