John Bouttt̬ and Paul Sanchez Рfrom the Threadhead party 2007. This is one of my favorite songs.

Yep, there`s no cocktails in this post, instead its full of music – and a very important message.

Tales of the Cocktail is around the corner and soon many of us go down there to enjoy everything that Nola has to offer including some of the best music in the world. But there´s something that we need to do something about – if we care about New Orleans and its unique musicians that we love, so read on:

What the NOMC are doing is helping the marginally paid working musicians of New Orleans to get affordable preventative healthcare, for themselves and their families. Now in just about three or so months 90% – yes you read it – 90% of the funding for the NOMC will be withdrawn by the federal governement in the name of “saving money”.

That is cutting the feet off the musicians.

The clinic needs help to keep operating for the good of the musicians and culture of New Orleans and you can help the NOMC by donating or by sharing the message that the Clinic needs help.

Do you care about New Orleans musicians? You can make a difference and you can help. And fortunately it’s easy.

Just tell your friends who love music and believe in justice about

If you’re able, donations are welcome of course, but simply helping spread the word is a huge help. The donations cannot be too small, every dollar counts – so please – do help!

This video is from the TV show Tréme, “Shame, Shame, Shame,” a song by Smiley Lewis, here sung in its own version by the unforgettable character Davies, played by Steve Zahn and backed up a bunch of talented folks – among them Tyrus Chapman, Kermit Ruffins and the Pfister Sisters.

Here are answers to the questions asked from the NOMC:

In 2005, engineering failures in the city’s levee system caused tens of billions of dollars worth of damage to New Orleans homes, businesses, and infrastructure.

Real dollar damage. Not Wall Street paper profits.

Contrary to news media reports, only a fraction of the money pledged by government and other sources has actually made it to the city.

In spite of this and against all odds, New Orleans is recovering and recovering strongly.

By all accounts, the city’s musicians have been and continue to be leaders in the recovery.

They were among the very first to come back and demonstrate their faith in New Orleans.

When times were darkest provided the bright light others needed to rekindle their hope.

Now, the federal government, which provided modest grants locally to institutions that focused on helping the uninsured, is pulling their support from these programs and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic is one of the groups effected.

In the Clinic’s case, this represents 90% of their funding.

=== Questions and Answers

Q: Why is the government doing this?

A: Why does this government do anything it does?

No doubt they believe they are “saving money.” It sure seems like a strange way to “save money” to me. Maybe to you too.


Q: Who should we write a letter to in the government to express our concern?

A: It probably wouldn’t hurt to write a letter to the President, but realistically – and the point of this campaign – is to help the Clinic become as independent as possible from the whims of government officials.

The key is for people like us who care to get together and do something about it.


Q: Is the New Orleans Musicians Clinic well run? Will the money I donate be spent prudently?

A: Yes and yes .The Clinic’s program uses its resources so wisely that it’s able to provide over $3 of medical care for every $1 it spends.

Musicians, tradition bearers and other artists in the city who use the Clinic are not only enthusiastic about the services it provides, they also comment over and over on the caring they experience as clients.

Perhaps most important, in addition to the normal range of medical services it offers, the Clinic has an orientation towards prevention that makes it unique in the nation.

It’s a health care model that works for people, something the whole country can learn from.


Q: Won’t health care reform in the US solve the problem?

A: Absolutely not.

First, the new health care program does not take effect until 2014.

Second, health care reform will not cover the kind of comprehensive and preventative programs the New Orleans Musicians Clinic offers musicians, tradition bearers, and their families now.


Q: What will happen if the New Orleans Musicians Clinic does not get the funding it needs to continue?

A: Sadly, you can see what will happen by taking a look at the cuts the Clinic has already been forced to make:

* Psychological counseling services – so important after a catastrophe like the levee failures – have been eliminated entirely:
* The mobile health clinic and Wednesday night walk-in clinic service has been cut to the bone
* Dental care allocations have been cut 50%
* Lab work is no longer provided
* Outreach and office hours have been reduced
* The “Gig Fund” which pays musicians to perform at local nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and community events has already been radically cut.

And this is just the beginning…if we do not succeed in getting the word out. If you can, give and give as generously as you can. If it’s not possible for you at this time, please spread the word.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave.performing ‘Backatown’ at Louisiana Music Factory – april 2010.

These videos are only a few examples of the living spirit of  New Orleans Music – so help to save the music clinic!