The Lower 9th Ward People’s Fest at the Martin Luther King elementary school last night was a great success. Working hard paid off. MlK is the only one of seven schools open in the lower 9th ward. With out the help of Plenty and other volunteers this school would have been bull dozed and demolished. The youths and Veterans who cut the locked door and gutted the school saved the city five hundred thousand dollars and made it possible to reopen. Our first act was a group of thirty-two brass musicians from France, who had called at the last minute and wanted to play our event. (billed as the people’s alternative to JazzFest which is expensive to attend.) Wow what a great sound. Then we had a Brazilin Samba band that had the place jumping. Our local hero Kirk Joseph and the Backyard Groove talked to our out of town guests about the long road home for all here. And asked why it is taking so long. “If this were San Francisco would it be this long of a wait? And remember, you didn’t come to hear Bon Jovi play at Jazz Fest. You came to hear New Orleans musicians play like they have for decades. Kirk played a song that brought our friend Pete Spring close to his father and son who are in the spirit world. He made all this possible with his back line equipment and love from the Steve Spring foundation. If you don’t know him, I can say he is doing amazing things here to help kids and music. Sista Otis had the whole place come to the front of the stage and put us all into a spiritual place with her graceful songs all about love and peace. She was hot and like always gave all of her self to the people. I did not want her to go off knowing this was the last time she would be in the NOLA area for a while. She is out there spreading her love and music for all you to hear. I miss her all ready. She is truly a Plenty International Woman. Michael Franti came on next and was grateful to be our friend again. What a true giver of good spirit! He asked Sista Otis and me on stage and we all played together. That was the blessing I was honored to have received from setting the show up. I’m still on cloud nine and Michael said I was excellent on the harp. Again wow!!! Next up was Legendary Man from this town, and my friend Guitar Lighting Lee and the Thunder Band. He is from the Lower 9th and Otis and I danced to some great delta blues. I love the stories he has of the great musicians he grew up with in New Orleans. And his love for the people here. The staff aand us cleaned up and thanked each other for a great evening. Thanks to every ne who helped make this possible. All I wanted from this was more awareness of ground zero after Katrina and Rita, And we got that. All the proceeds went the school and the principal was very grateful. Plenty’s work with Books To Kids has shown us how badly our schools here need help. During our last trip to the school we saw the libraries with too many empty shelves. Now the state is cutting funding for education and healthcare in its new budget. Again it is all up to Us.
Love, Tony Sferlazza , Gulf Coast Field Director, Plenty International