Jazz Students Lend Helping Hands in New Orleans
Warrick conceived the venture in 2006 after taking a bus tour through New Orleans, where he and Mrs. Warrick saw first-hand the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane that left much of the city under water, contributed to more than 1,800 deaths and cost the city about $81 billion in damages. The teary-eyed tour guide said, "Somebody on this bus should do something about this." Warrick turned to his wife and said, "That's us." Once back in Winnetka, he spearheaded a fund-raising drive that included a sixteen-hour telethon on public television, sales of a special CD and a series of lectures to let students know the history and culture of New Orleans.
Once in New Orleans, Warrick and the students handed out more than 500 instruments, worth about $300,000, to schools that desperately needed them. They also operated a traveling fashion boutique that distributed more than 500 donated dresses and 400 tuxedos to New Orleans students for their proms, a tradition that had become a rarity in the wake of Katrina. Lastly, the Jazz Ensemble contributed $75,000 and three days of manual labor to help build a Habitat for Humanity home in Musicians' Village, which provides residences to artists displaced by the hurricane.
This is in the finest spirit of the American tradition. When a need arises, there are always those who will take it upon themselves to mobilize their resources and face the situation head-on, sacrificing their time, energy and money to lend a helping hand. Kudos to Warrick and the NTHS Jazz Ensemble for their sacrificial gallantry in the face of such an horrendous crisis. (FEMA, please take note.)