Turn Music Lovers into Musician Lovers: New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 1, 2019 04:54pm | Post a Comment

By Shona

I love New Orleans, and if you’ve been there, you do too. (If you’ve never been, get yourself down there!) New Orleans is the birthplace and repository of so much important music and, more importantly, so much music is alive and swaggering there. It’s Jazz, it’s R&B, it’s Cajun and Zydeco, it’s Funk, it’s Mardi Gras Indians, it’s Rock & Roll, it’s brass bands, it’s Bounce and Hip-Hop, and we could go on. Let’s just say it’s all that and a bag of Zapp’s potato chips! It’s our past and present, but how do we keep it going for our future? We add Musician Lover to our identity as Music Lover. We support the music and culture by supporting the health and well-being of the people who create it.

Amoeba Music has a long history with the New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation (NOMAF) and the clinic they support, New Orleans Musician’s Clinic (NOMC). Their mission is to save New Orleans Music and one of the ways they do that is “preventing death by lifestyle.” If you’ve seen an episode of the David Simon HBO drama Treme, then you saw their work depicted. We are a business run by music lovers that caters to music lovers and, let’s be real, we gotta be Musician Lovers.

Every year, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival happens the last weekend of April. It’s an epic music festival, mixing big name, internationally known acts and hyper local artists. Last year they had almost 450,000 attendees over seven days. This year is their big 50th Anniversary, and the line-up is insane. Dave Matthews Band, Diana Ross, Katy Perry, Herbie Hancock, Leon Bridges, Logic, Big Freedia, Santana, Trombone Shorty, and more. NOMAF is holding a raffle and tickets are only $10 each! The grand prize is two Brass Passes (7 day access, VIP perks) to Jazz Fest. Trust, you want that prize. (They don’t take any federal funds, so they rely on year-round donations and special events to fund their programs.)

I spoke recently with Managing Director of the NOMAF, Erica Dudas, and she’s the one who said, “we need to turn ‘music lovers’ into ‘musician lovers.'" She broke down what they do and what a Brass Pass gets you.

Amoeba: Briefly, what do y’all do?

Erica: We provide healthcare to local musicians, and we have for 21 years. It’s comprehensive health care through the LSU Health Care Network, and our foundation pays the tab on any healthcare that is either beyond the scope of the patient’s insurance, or, for the uninsured, we pay the entire bill. In addition to that, we expand the mission of the direct healthcare, social services, and mental health care that we provide at the clinic by taking it into smart and funky community health programs. Like, right now we have a sober happy hour series that we’re bringing into the community for musicians and creatives who are in recovery. We have mocktails, we do ear acupuncture there, we do massage therapy, mindfulness training, and things like that along with music.

Amoeba: Right, the mental health and the sober events are probably so important, and those are pretty new programs for you. So, it’s great that you guys have expanded to include those.

Erica: Yeah, well we realize there’s a silent epidemic of suicide in the creative community...In the artist community we are really not talking about the idea that artists are really suffering in silence, and isolated. So, our program is not only an answer to the addiction issues that are happening. It’s also a call to action to bring more social connectivity across the board by having spaces that are regular, safe, and inclusive.

NOMC is the only one in the country with a model likes ours, where we’re actually delivering healthcare regardless of the patient’s insurance. We’ll get them connected to Medicaid or Food Stamps. There’s so much that insurance doesn’t cover; it doesn’t cover mental or dental. We’re really filling in the gaps of coverage to make sure the musicans have what they need to get on stage.

For everybody from the buskers to the headliners that people love at Jazz Fest...we really take care of the gamut. You don’t have to prove yourself to be a patient of ours.

Amoeba: People that you consider to be part of the music community, correct if I’m wrong, are culture bearers...

Erica: We serve Mardi Gras Indians, we serve Grand Marshalls, burlesque dancers are a big population who we’re serving now, Social Aid and Pleasure Club members.

Amoeba: It’s a huge community that you serve. All of that is so important to music worldwide, but also specifically to New Orleans, and the health and well-being of New Orleans as a city.

Now, why do we want that Brass Pass?

Erica: Brass Passes are sold as a fundraiser for WWOZ. It includes all-access for 7 days, and then it also provides access to the WWOZ hospitality tent, where they serve iced coffee, fresh fruit, everything. It’s like a little port in the Jazz Fest storm. Brass Passes themselves are, I think, a value of $1,400 to be able to access Jazz Fest that way. There’s private bathrooms, a phone charging station, and then what’s really cool is that you’re watching WWOZ livestream and do interviews, so you never know who’s gonna walk in there and be interviewed. They’re very limited, actually already sold out.

BUY A RAFFLE TICKET ON THE NOMAF/NOMC WEBSITE. The drawing happens on April 20th.

Maybe a Brass Pass isn’t your thing, but the NOMAF relies on donations year round and even just $10 or $20 helps. Let’s all be Musician Lovers.

Please follow NOMC on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Relevant Tags

New Orleans (56), New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation (1), Nomaf (1), Nola (1), Nomc (2), New Orleans Musician’s Clinic (1), Treme (5), Dave Matthews Band (4), Diana Ross (13), Katy Perry (7), Herbie Hancock (16), Leon Bridges (4), Logic (9), Big Freedia (7), Santana (10), Trombone Shorty (5), New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Festival (1), Wwoz (1), Shona (1)