by Clancy DuBos
Gambit’s Foundation for Entertainment Development and Education, Tipitina’s Foundation, United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Silence Is Violence have joined forces to host a special benefit concert for the 19 victims of the May 12 shooting. The concert will be next Thursday (May 23) at Tipitina’s, 501 Napoleon Ave., and will feature local brass bands, Mardi Gras Indians, and other musicians and entertainers. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Tickets to the benefit are $40 in advance and are available online via Ticketweb.
The organizations also announced formation of The 19 Fund, a special fund-raising effort to aid the 19 victims of the May 12 shooting — and future victims of violence in greater New Orleans. The 19 Fund was the brainchild of representatives of the four nonprofits as well as several concerned citizens who volunteered to help victims of the shooting. The mission of The 19 Fund is “to help victims of violence heal physically, financially and emotionally.”
All proceeds from the May 23 benefit concert — and all funds raised by The 19 Fund — will be turned over to United Way, which will serve as fiscal agent for The 19 Fund at no charge. Silence Is Violence will coordinate victim services, which will include financial aid as well as help accessing other free and discounted social services from governmental and nonprofit sources. Details of how The 19 Fund will provide assistance to the 19 victims of the May 12 shooting (and future victims) are available on the Ticketweb page for the concert.
The benefit concert has drawn support from several notable entertainers. Fats Domino, actor Wendell Pierce of HBO’s “Tremé” series, and Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr. have volunteered to serve as honorary co-chairs of the benefit. Harrison also will perform with his band, The Congo Square Nation, in full Mardi Gras Indian dress. Other performers include The Hot 8 Brass Band, The Stooges Brass Band and Bonerama. Tipitina’s Foundation is lining up additional performers, who will be announced in the coming days.
All proceeds of the benefit — 100 percent of ticket and drink sales — will go to The 19 Fund to assist victims.
In addition to the music, the concert will feature sales of a special T-shirt with the “19” logo on a bass drum. The T-shirts also will be available after the concert via the Tipitina’s Foundation web site. All proceeds from T-shirt sales will go to The 19 Fund.
Anyone wishing to donate directly to The 19 Fund will be able to do so starting Friday via United Way’s local web site. A direct link to that online donation page will be announced as soon as the page is up and running, according to a spokesperson for United Way.
The 19 Fund will remain a part of United Way’s local services and fund-raising efforts for violent crime victims in greater New Orleans.
“The 19 Fund will help violent crime victims and victim-survivors cope with crime-related expenses,” said Silence Is Violence leaders Tamara Jackson and Baty Landis. “Qualifying expenses will be reimbursed based on formal needs assessments and the individual circumstances of each victim. In addition, The 19 Fund will provide advocacy and assistance in seeking additional financial and logistical assistance on behalf of victims and victim families. All assessments and case management will take place on the basis of strict confidentiality.”
Silence Is Violence and United Way also will coordinate and prepare regular reports on victim services rendered, which will be publicly available and provided directly to all supporters of The 19 Fund. Financial records will be independently audited annually.