2020 Year Recap

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Despite the many challenges and changes we all faced this year, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation — the non-profit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, presented by Shell — has remained steadfast in its commitment to Louisiana's music community, music education, and cultural programs.  

This year, the Foundation experienced its largest charitable giving in its 50 year history, more than doubling award funds from any previous year ever.  Our efforts were made possible by you—our donors, subscribers, sponsors, and community.  Thank you for standing up and being advocates for Louisiana culture.  As we look forward toward a more hopeful 2021, we want to reflect on some of our accomplishments this past year.



In March, the Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund was created by the Foundation to support Louisiana musicians whose livelihoods were adversely impacted by COVID-19.  Through our partnership with Spotify, a $100,000 donation and matching support would increase our reach to help many more people.  

To date, $1.5 million in relief fund grants have been awarded to Louisiana musicians, gig workers, and Black masking/Mardi Gras Indians. Donors from across the world helped to raise more than $600,000 in additional funds.  We are grateful for the support of our sponsors


Students from LPO's Music for Life Program. Photo by Candice Perkins. Photo 2: 2015 CPG Award Ceremony. Photo by Bruce France

 The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation awarded $1.2 million in Community Partnership Grants- the most in the program's history. 96% of applicants were funded in awards of up to $4,500. As always, the Foundation funded mission-aligned projects: arts education, documentation of Louisiana cultural traditions, and presentation of local artists and performers.  See all of our grant recipients listed at www.communitypartnershipgrants.org



The cultural events produced by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation spotlight New Orleans’ unique culture while supporting the people who create it. 

Jazz & Heritage Foundation Board Member and Councilman Jay Banks with Germaine Bazzle. Photo by Ashley Lorraine Photography

Chanteuse Concert Series- In March, the Foundation presented Chanteuse - a two week concert series celebrating New Orleans Women in Music. The concert featured new talents alongside New Orleans legend, Germaine Bazzle. Unfortunately, the series was cut short due to COVID-19.  We are planning to continue the series once we are safe to gather!  Check out these Chanteuse performances from Germaine Bazzle and The Lilli Lewis Project

The Foundation also hosted a special Sync Up event featuring Ms. Bazzle in conversation with Gwen Thompkins. Ms. Bazzle - a steward of New Orleans music, a powerhouse bandleader, and an esteemed educator - discussed her life in music and performance. Check out the interview HERE! 


Crescent City Blues & BBQ FestivalIn October, the 15th annual Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival took place virtually for the first time.  Over 40 bands were featured during a three day virtual festival thanks to the amazing archival recordings from the Jazz & Heritage Archive and beloved Jazz & Heritage community radio station WWOZ 90.7FM.  Festival goers from around the world were able to watch online via Facebook and Youtube or listen to WWOZ from everywhere else.  You can relive all three festival days by visiting our Youtube channel where all videos are posted including the two incredible sets from Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Little Freddie King. You can watch Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 on Youtube- Watch Blues Fest HERE!


Arts Across America/ Kennedy Center + South Arts Partnership- Also in October, the Foundation was honored to partner with the Kennedy Center and South Arts for "Arts Across America" - a 20-week collaboration with arts organizations coast to coast.  The series presented various musical performances, interpretive dancing, poetry, spoken word, and much more.  The Foundation presented these powerhouse artists who are using their artistry to dismantle the array of social and economic injustice: Lilli Lewis, Sha'Condria "iCon" Sibley, and Ashlin Parker of Trumpet Mafia.  Missed it ?  That's ok.  Check out this powerful concert HERE! 


Sync Up: Virtual Gigging Best Practices- In November, we assembled a diverse panel of Louisiana artists and professionals who discussed topics that include streaming platforms, technical challenges, virtual tipping, best scheduling practices, common pitfalls, and useful tips and tricks to aid in maximizing a musician's online presence.  Watch Sync Up HERE!


Holiday Concert with Dr. Michael White, LPO, and Topsy Chapman- The Foundation presented a holiday evening concert featuring Dr. Michael White in partnership with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra earlier in December.  The concert featured an eceletic mixture of old and new arrangements of holiday classics and traditional jazz collaborations. Dr. Michael White was joined by his band the Original Liberty Jazz Band and Topsy Chapman.  Watch the concert HERE!   Many heartfelt thanks to WWOZ 90.7 for safely filming and editing all of the Foundation's concerts this season!


Heritage School of Music and Vocal Workshop students with Administrative Assistant Maddie Fireman participating in virtual lessons.

Our Heritage School of Music and NORD Vocal Workshop students and faculty persevered this fall  by moving their lessons and activities  online.  Classes were provided in instrumental methods, vocal techniques, music theory & history, and improvisation technique. To learn more about the program requirements and future audition dates, visit www.heritageschoolofmusic.com or email us! 



Mardi Gras Indian chanting at Jazz Fest, ca 1985. Photo by Burton Steele

The Jazz & Heritage Archive has had an extremely busy year.  The Archive is the repository of materials and information from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s various programs and activities — including Jazz Fest. These materials are made available for scholarly and other types of research. This year, WWOZ 90.7 FM made airwave history by presenting a stream of the greatest and most memorable performances in Jazz Fest's 50 year history.  Jazz Festing in Place was made possible, largely in part because of the Archive and the incredible work it takes to preserve and digitize thousands records.

In 2017, the Archive unveiled a useful online tool for music lovers: The Jazz Fest Database. The database is a searchable, web-based platform that allows anyone to find out which artists performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival dating back to the first festival in 1970.  So, if you’ve ever wondered which years Irma Thomas, Snooks Eaglin or anyone else played Jazz Fest – and on which date and on what stage – the Jazz Fest Database can help.  Check it out HERE!





If you are able, please consider making a year-end gift today to support the Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund

If you would like your gift to go towards strengthening and expanding our other programs, please click here. 

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