In advance of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, All Things Considered has been talking about recovery along the Gulf Coast: what's changed, what's moved, what's come back. The musical heartbeat of New Orleans has clearly been shifted by what's become known simply as "the storm."
Nick Spitzer has spent his life immersed in the music of Louisiana — he hosts the public radio program American Routes from New Orleans. In an interview with All Things Considered host Melissa Block, he says that the cultural disaster he feared after the storm has not come to pass.
"Early on, music became essential to the sense of, 'Why should somebody come back, and how will the city recover?' " Spitzer says. "We found that a lot of it was the intangible sense of music in the neighborhoods and the clubs and the lifestyle. It's a powerful culture, it's a diverse culture, and it's been right there in the middle of getting us to where we are now."
Spitzer discusses some of the musicians and musical projects in New Orleans who have been active since the storm, including the Soul Rebels Brass Band; Derrick Tabb and the Roots of Music program; and a special collaboration featuring Mos Def, Lenny Kravitz, Tim Robbins and a few New Orleans musicians.