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From the Beltway to the Bayou

D.C. music community unites in support of the Gulf Coast
On Monday, March 27, the Washington, D.C., music community presented “From the Beltway to the Bayou,” a concert fund-raiser to benefit Habitat for Humanity’s Musicians’ Village project in New Orleans. Held at the restaurant Local 16 in the historic U-Street district of Washington, music fans and supporters of Habitat for Humanity’s work came together as an array of local musicians and DJs performed.

 

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Singer Harry Connick Jr. assisted in the assembly of an OHD house in Slidell, Louisiana.

   

Catlin O’Neill, chair of the fund-raiser, conceived of the event while watching a CNN interview with Harry Connick Jr. O’Neill currently works for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and is the granddaughter of Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill, former Speaker of the House of Representatives. As Connick spoke about his involvement with Habitat for Humanity, O’Neill’s excitement about the Musicians’ Village rose, and she quickly began to organize an event that would pair her passion for music with her desire to help those affected by the Gulf Coast hurricanes. As the details of the event came together, O’Neill secured local DJs and musicians who wanted to show their support for the Musicians’ Village project.

“As a musician, I have been greatly influenced by the sounds and sights that have come to make New Orleans a cultural goldmine,” said Kid Gusto, a D.C. musician who performed at Monday night’s concert. “I feel it’s especially important for us all, especially us musicians, to help out in any capacity that we can to help our fellow musicians in New Orleans. This event lends a helping hand to this effort and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

“From the Beltway to the Bayou” was a complete success, with supporters swelling Local 16 well past the fundraiser’s official ending at 9 p.m.

Conceived by Connick and Branford Marsalis, the Musicians’ Village will consist of Habitat homes for displaced New Orleans musicians. Its centerpiece will be the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, dedicated to the education of homeowners and others living nearby and named for the founding father of the Marsalis family.

—Sara Vasko, Manager, External Relations