The Music Maker Relief Foundation (Hillsborough, NC) — created the Baton Rogue Musicians Fund (BRMF). The fund was created in partnership with the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation and will directly supported musicians impacted by the Louisiana Flood. The BRMF ended up raising over $62,000 for those impacted by the flooding.
Beginning August 12th a torrential downpour began over the state of Louisiana. Nearly 7 trillion gallons of water fell from the sky causing record-breaking flooding that has damaged more than 60,000 homes.
One of the damaged homes belongs to 91 year old blues pianist Henry Gray. Henry still tours both solo and with his band, Henry Gray and the Cats. Though he has travelled the world playing the blues with the Rolling Stones, Howlin’ Wolf and countless others, Henry still lives in a humble home and like so many other working people, did not have flood insurance.
Music Maker founder and president, Tim Duffy stated, “When we heard that legends like Henry were impacted, we immediately reached out to send aid. Music Maker has been helping roots musicians in crisis for more than 20 years. In a situation like this, we first need to help stabilize an artist’s health and housing situation, then we can focus on getting instruments back in their hands and giving them access to stages so they can rebuild their livelihood.”
The floods impact can still be felt in many areas of Louisiana and with talking to the Baton Rouge community Music Maker Relief Foundation found that they were struggling to fund their annual Mardi Gras Festival. Music Maker, along with the Jazz Foundation of America, is sponsoring this festival on Saturday, February 25th at the North Boulevard Town Square, to give many impacted musicians a gig and to allow the people of Baton Rouge to celebrate this great Louisiana cultural tradition.
Contemporary artists around the world recognize the significance of roots musicians form the South. Grammy-winning artist Taj Mahal offered “These musicians are the foundation of all popular music in the world. When disaster turns on them it is not time to turn our backs. Let’s show them the respect!”