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The Ladies in Red Gala once again celebrates our treasures

10th June 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

It’s time again to celebrate the cultural preservation of some of our treasured landmarks, and the revered musical ambassadors who once called them home. For a little over a decade, the Preservation Resource Center’s African American Heritage Program has honored local cultural legends and identified many of the homes of renowned jazz musicians.

The (AAHP) presents the 2013 Ladies in Red Gala, honoring New Orleans Jazz legends, will take place on Friday, June 14, from time-at The Cannery, 3803 Toulouse St. The patron party kicks the night off from 7 to 8pm and the gala takes place from 8 to 11p.m. Tickets start at $75.

“We started out 13 years ago, and the first Ladies in Red took place at Villa Meilleur (the African American Museum) in Tremé,” says Janie Blackmon, PRC board member and original founding member of AAHP “The guests to the Gala included diverse cultures from every corner of the city- white, black, Jewish, Italian, etc. The event was to take place throughout the grounds of the Museum, but it rained that night, and so the event was moved inside, where we all came together, in one small place gathered together as one. We had a grand time.”

Nothing short of a grand time will be in store for those attending this year’s event; with Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs providing the entertainment, along with NOCCA Alumni Jazz Ensemble, who will perform at the Patron Party. WWL-TV’s Eric Paulsen is the emcee.

This event is dubbed ‘Ladies in Red’ because the first event was held on Valentine’s Day and all the ladies in attendance wore red for the holiday.

The Preservation Resource Center has served as a true resource for renovation of historic properties and neighborhood revitalization. The event supports the PRC’s cultural heritage preservation and education efforts. The Preservation Resource Center’s African American Heritage Program (AAHP) focuses on identifying and preserving the homes and cultural legacy of New Orleans jazz musicians.

“There have been over 60 plaques produced and placed around the city,” Blackmon states. “One of our first plaques was placed where the civil courthouse is on Tulane and Broad, in honor of Louis Armstrong’s boyhood home on Jane Alley. The installation of this plaque was one of the greatest days because he was the king of jazz. And it was the beginning of our journey plaqueing houses.”

This year’s event will honor Lucien Barbarin, Leah Chase, Benny Jones, Freddie Lonzo, Herlin Riley, and The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). This year’s honorary chairpersons are author Michael Lewis, trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and New Orleans Saints Ambassador Michael Lewis.

“Through the efforts of the PRC’s Education and Outreach programming, we’ve educated our community on the importance of our musicians, who often are revered throughout the world, but not at home. We continue to impress on the community that these are our musicians and we owe it to them to honor them. That is one of the important roles of the Ladies in Red annual event,” Blackmon told The Louisiana Weekly.

The AAHP’s My City, My Home program teaches local schoolchildren the importance of the city’s architecture, culture and cityscape while they learn valuable life skills. The program has also launched the My Home Career Day, which exposes youth to potential career paths in building, city planning, infrastructure, city governance and arts and culture related fields. The PRC has partnered with seven schools in the area for the program.

For tickets to the Ladies In Red Gala, call (504) 581-7032 or visit www.prcno.org.

This article originally published in the June 10, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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