On Friday, June 14, the Preservation Resource Center (PRC) hosted the 13th annual Ladies in Red Gala that honored New Orleans jazz musicians and the institutions that support them while raising funds for heritage preservation programming. Honorees included Lucien Barbarin, Leah Chase, Benny Jones, Freddie Lonzo, Herlin Riley, and the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA).
The event chairs are Nicole Blackmon Lewis as well as Anna and Adam Breaux and the honorary chairs included New Orleans Saints Ambassador Michael Lewis, author Michael Lewis and trumpeter Irvin Mayfield. The African American Heritage Preservation Program chair is Edgar Chase, III.
The African American Heritage Preservation Program (AAHP) at the PRC identifies and places plaques on former homes of jazz musicians, generating awareness of the cultural significance of the city's older neighborhoods. The heritage education program My City, My Home teaches schoolchildren the importance of our architecture, culture and cityscape while they learn valuable life skills. Ladies in Red is not only a great party and honors our jazz musicians, but it makes these programs possible.
"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."
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 focuses on identifying and preserving the homes and cultural legacy of New Orleans jazz musicians.
"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 said.