The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, a 501(c)3 grass roots charity founded by displaced New Orleans musicians after Katrina has provided grants, instruments and gigs for New Orleans musicians for six years.
Our nonprofit is grateful to those who have contributed instruments to musicians, professional and beginners, including trumpets, violins (at left), electric guitars, antique upright bass, grand pianos, housing, cars and guitars.
It's been six years of blessings. nomRf was able to present a 100 year old Czech bass to a student at NOCCA Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz program.
We're still giving instruments (Michaela's new clarinet below) directly to promising young New Orleans musicians.
In one of our charity's most poignant memories since kicking the whole thing off in 2005, nomRf brought the Great Southwest Holiday Toy Sleigh Ride to musicians’ children. The airline gave the New Orleans Musicians RELIEF Fund space to bring 200 pounds of toys from Chicago to New Orleans post-Katrina, and we also mailed toys to displaced musicians’ children. So many toys came in, former WWOZ DJ and New Orleans music legend Bob French announced that families could pull up out front of the studio while we distributed everything from skateboards to drum kits.
Bob is now living in Habitat for Humanity's Musicians Village, New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund couch, drum and all. Six years post-Katrina, our charity is still grass roots and run by and for New Orleans musicians.
Funding is hard to come by, but rather than host an annual benefit we encourage you to donate to relief in Japan, Jopin and Haiti, Mercy Corps in particular; and we still welcome any instruments you have to pass along to musicians in New Orleans.
Teen Helps Young Rockers Through Bat Mitzvah
The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund has given out Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp scholarships and, thanks to Chicago teenager Mel who donated her Bat Mitzvah funds, guitars for 14 young New Orleans musicians including Jazz (at right).
One of the young rockers was able to play his new guitar at Rock Camp along with New Orleans musician Shamarr Allen.The rock counselors spent time with the legendary Smokey Johnson and Cosimo Matassa and named their group the Cosimo's Kids, winning Best Set of the Tour.
Shamarr is now teaching through Silence is Violence, and is organization has been the recipient of some of our instrument donations this year.
Individual donations, from instruments to clothing to gift cards, have helped keep our grass roots organization growing for six years. We welcome instruments at nomRf, 828 Royal Street, #130, New Orleans, LA 70116.
The Car so Nice,
nomRf Gave it Twice
In the first few years after the federal flood, the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, Inc. was able to mail hundreds of direct emergency grants to musicians across the country to help them return, but the charity now receives more physical items than financial donations, ranging from drums to desks.
One example is Tanio, pictured here with the charity's founder Jeff Beninato, a brass band drummer who received a donated van for gig transportation.
When his nomRf-donated van was unfortunately stolen, the lawyer who processed the donation paperwork was moved to donate her husband's car just in time for his family's evacuation. No third car is required yet, but we appreciate everyone involved in keeping the band in wheels.
Donated Instruments and Furniture
Delivered to Musicians Village
For those who have returned to New Orleans in the years post Katrina, Furnishing Our Neighbors partnered with the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund's ReDefine 8/29 Campaign to offer four-star Astor Crowne Plaza donated furniture. More than 1,000 people were helped with $8 and $29 furniture, and free furnishings from sofa beds to armoires were delivered musicians including legends in the Musicians Village like Smokey Johnson, longtime Fats Domino drummer.
The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund also brought Smokey a saxophone for his church, with the help of the ultimate friend of new Orleans music - Dr. John. After delivering everything from furniture to grand pianos (below left), we here at nomRf have had quite a workout in the last 5 years.
As Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. Johntold Entertainment Weekly about the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. "It's small organizations - they've done more than these big organizations with a lot of money."
We're grateful for all the musical help from our friends. Our friends in Wilco played a benefit just after the levees failed (with a New Orleans horn section brought in from around the country) that helped the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund start sending out emergency grants to get musicians home. Spoon played a Voodoo Music Experience benefit for the charity, as well as the year Southern Comfort and Sony Little Big Planet hosted a Voodoo benefit. Mike Mills of R.E.M. hosted host a nomRf Redefine 8/29 evening to help commemorate the musical renewal of New Orleans after the levee failures of 2005, and the Subdudes played an unforgettable benefit last year between Jazzfest weekends. Benefits are more welcome than ever as the economy makes raising funds a challenge for grass roots charities across the country. Just drop us a note to let us know what you have in mind, and we'll help promote your event.
Our friends in REM featured our founder's piano print(HERE), and the benefit print is available HERE to help nomRf keep providing gigs and instruments.