Successful recording artists Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to develop a neighborhood specifically for the city's musicians.
"In the months following Hurricane Katrina, two well-connected musicians, Harry Connick, Jr., and Branford Marsalis, began thinking about how they could help New Orleans's music scene recover. They soon teamed with Habitat for Humanity to envision Musicians' Village: a neighborhood composed of 70 single-family homes, five duplexes, a park, and a performance center, that would provide musicians with affordable housing and work space. The move from cultural mission to concrete buildings has not been as simple-or as musical-as they initially hoped it would be, but it is finally showing success.
Musicians' Village is located on an 8-acre site in the Upper Ninth Ward. At its heart will be a 250-seat music hall. Designed by the local firm Mathes Brierre Architects, the 15,000-square-foot Ellis Marsalis Center for Music (named for the pianist and patriarch of the famed Marsalis clan) pursues a contemporary glass-and-brick aesthetic in a neighborhood characterized by clapboard structures. Generous fenestration will let in plenty of daylight-which, coupled with photovoltaic cells generating the building's electricity, could qualify the project for LEED Gold certification. Construction is set to begin in September."