paid special tribute to New Orleans last week at the conclusion of the 48th annual awards program. National Academy of Arts & Sciences President Neil Portnow urged artists and music lovers across America not only to show their support of the city by visiting New Orleans during Jazz Fest. The show's closing segment featured local legends Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and Irma Thomas performing with Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, U2's The Edge and soul singer Sam Moore.
NYC Loves NOLA,
a "patriotic tourism initiative" by the Big Apple, brought nearly 200 New Yorkers to town this past weekend to help New Orleans rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Organized by Loews Hotels CEO Jonathan M. Tisch, Zagat Survey publisher Tim Zagat and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the visit was one way of thanking patriotic groups from across the country who traveled to New York to rebuild that city's economy and spirit after 9/11.
The Morial Convention Center,
an anchor of the local hospitality industry and one of the state's key economic generators, reopens this weekend with the area's first post-Katrina event, the Helen Brett Gift & Jewelry Show. Running from Friday through Monday (Feb. 17-20), the trade show is a regional favorite that has been held in the Crescent City for more than half a century. It is expected to bring 500 exhibitors and 15,000 buyers to the Morial center from across the southeast and southwest.
Blue Man Group,
the popular three-man performance-art group, has donated $6,000 to the Contemporary Arts Center Performing Artists Fund, a project set up in October to assist local theater professionals with living expenses during the recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Professionals in New Orleans who have a pre-Katrina history of local theatre work may apply for living expenses by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.