With eighty percent of New Orleans submerged under up to twenty feet of water in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and thousands of casualties anticipated, the music world is dealing with the emotional impact and trying to imagine the future of one of America’s most influential cultural centers.
“I’ve had, like, an hour’s sleep,” says Dr. John, on tour in Minneapolis. “All my family is MIA — I mean, most everybody I know. They might be anywhere. I’m praying hard.” For the blues legend, a New Orleans native, “my heart’s always gonna be in New Orleans. It ain’t just the place, it’s the whole culture. The music will survive; the people will survive.”
Former Phish bassist Mike Gordon, who has played the city numerous times adds, “I’m very passionate about the city — I’ve had amazing experiences there. We used to go canoeing on the bayou, go to Mother’s Restaurant and see these hip brass bands that no one knows about. New Orleans is such a fuel for the entire country’s music. There is such a looseness to the city and the people, a happy-go-lucky quality, throwing caution to the wind. I don’t think the pure essence of the place can be wiped away by natural disaster.”
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