Culture: A Fundamental Part of Economic Development
By Alejandra Guzmán
Click aqui para español- > Nuestra cultura, una pieza fundamental para la promoción del desarrollo económico
During April and May, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival welcomed hundreds of thousands of attendees while hitting its half century mark. This annual spring event has brought an array of concerts that expand to every genre of music. Some of the legendary artists who have performed throughout the years include Mahalia Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Fats Domino, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Lenny Kravitz, Tony Bennett, Tito Puente, and the list continues! A 2019 local favorite was the Queen of Bounce Big Freedia. Those in attendance reported that she was electric.
Another 2019 highlight included Mayor LaToya Cantrell presenting George Wein the key to the City acknowledging his contributions to jazz festivals. Mr. Wein has been a jazz promoter and producer and his work has left an undeniable legacy. He was responsible for the Newport Jazz Festival, our very own New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and has represented festivals all over the world.
In 1959, the jazz impresario married Joyce Alexander Wein, a lady who also left a great legacy to American culture. A chemist by profession, Mrs. Wein started her career as a biochemist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and later in New York at Columbia Medical School. In 1963, she joined her husband and others in founding the Newport Folk Festival, which is recognized as a major engine for festival culture. Her many contributions to society include establishing the Joyce and George Wein Professorship Fund in African American Studies at Boston University and an Endowed Scholarship Fund at Simons College. Mrs. Wein passed away in 2005 leaving an important legacy.
Festivals bring tremendous economic value, particularly to local businesses that benefit from the activity, and visitors driven by the event. For New Orleans, Jazz Fest also sets the stage for additional festivals throughout the year and helps maintain our cultural brand. What started as a small celebration of music and culture with just 350 attendees, has become an attraction of 680 musical acts in two weekends, and contributes $400 million to the city.
To learn more about how culture contributes to the economy, plan to attend the New Orleans Business Alliance’s Annual Meeting on June 27th. The organization will present how its work promotes, supports and grows our culture while focusing on equitable and inclusive economic development. The theme of the event is focused on Economic Development Reimagined featuring acclaimed international business leader, Arnold W. Donald, a New Orleans native who serves as the president and chief executive officer of the Carnival Corporation.
For more information visit nolaba.org
Until next time!