Philanthropic Fun: A Musical Menagerie

The grounds and gardens of the New Orleans Jazz Museum were transformed  for the “Improvisations Gala.” The fundraiser enabled the museum to globally promote jazz as one of the most innovative, historically pivotal musical art forms through highly-interactive exhibits, as well as support ongoing musical and educational programming. Randy Fertel, Gianna Chachere, Rosalind Hinton and Tamara Kreinin served as Chairs. Honorary Co-Chairs were Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Hawks. 

Solomon Group created an illuminated backdrop for the evening highlighting “The Bass Player,” a monumental bronze sculpture provided by Herb Alpert, as well as spotlighting a Cadillac of New Orleans’ 2020 premium luxury XT6 on display. The celebration, spanning the museum’s grounds, featured illuminated installations, digital sculptures, projections and art animated by technology provided by local and international artists.

A Patron Party preceding the Gala featured a cocktail hour, catering from Ruth’s Chris and performances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, Adonis Rose, Detroit Brooks and Shea Pierre. A second line opening the Gala featured the Big Queen Mary Kay Stevenson of the Original Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians, Carol “Kit” Harris and the N’awlins Dawlins Baby Dolls and Treme-Lafitte Brass Band. A celebration full of music included The Soul Rebels, Pinettes Brass-Band featuring Big Freedia, Lena Prima, Charmaine Neville, Meschiya Lake, Seth Finch Trio, Herlin Riley, Wendell Brunious and Shea Pierre. Special guest Stephanie Jordan performed with students from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and the Trombone Shorty Foundation & Trombone Shorty Music Academy. 

The Plant Gallery decorated the museum with warm white lighted stars, globes and hanging ornamental spheres and lush greenery.

More than 25 restaurants and purveyors offered food fare for the evening. Open bars served cocktails in New Orleans Jazz Museum cups courtesy of Dorignac’s. The Jazz Museum’s Education Center was transformed into Beattie’s Distillery Improv Jazz Lounge & Martini Bar with plush seating provided by Doerr Furniture and glow-in-the-dark martini glasses by Faux Pas Prints. And a silent auction featured nearly 100 items.

Event at a Glance

What: “Improvisations Gala,” benefiting New Orleans Jazz Museum

When: Saturday, December 7, 2019

Where: New Orleans Jazz Museum

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Dee Dee Bridgewater, Greg Lambousy and Christian McBride  

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Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, Pam Davis Friedler, Pamela Pipes and David Mutter


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