Ellis Marsalis’ Legacy: Supporting NOLA Culture Bearers

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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA– The multi-talented band leader, and Marsalis-music family member Delfeayo Marsalis is using his father’s legacy to help his fellow musicians through financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

On any night, Frenchman street in New Orleans, is an avenue where live music bellows out from the clubs and climbs up into the night sky of the Crescent City. One of the Jewels that align the street is Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, an anchor of jazz music in the city.

“That’s where my dad had a gig for about 30 plus years on Friday nights.  I was there for about a decade with my Uptown Jazz Orchestra on Wednesday nights,” says Delfeayo Marsalis.

There was simply no other like Ellis Marsalis. He was a great educator and proficient pianist known the world over. On April 1st this year, he passed on due to complications from COVID-19 at the age of 85. The next day on April 2nd, Delfeayo found inspiration while walking through New Orleans and began a mission to help musicians struggling financially through perilous times.

“I passed by Peaches Records and on the outside chalkboard they had written, thank you Ellis Marsalis for keeping New Orleans music alive,” says Delfeayo.

Delfeayo now has a fundraising website called Keep New Orleans Music Alive. It’s an initiative that will provide emergency aid to native musicians and culture bearers of New Orleans. Those eligible can apply through the website by filling out a form.

At this time many musicians really need the help and there is real danger to both livelihood and culture of New Orleans. Defleayo knows many a musician in city and says, “musicians in New Orleans can’t keep their lights on and it’s tough.  They never know where their next meal is going to come from.” 

In our current coronavirus saga, Frenchman street is all but deserted, Delfeayo says New Orleans’ song is still one of redemption, saying “I know that the spirit that our ancestors left us, is still in the air and still in the grounds.  We just have to wait for the proper time to bring it back forth.”

The Marsalis family is planning a large memorial celebration in honor of Ellis Marsalis April, 2021.

To help Delfeayo in his mission you can click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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