Sometimes we are fortunate to have the opportunity to help on a project which offers rewards not only architecturally – but also socially. In rare cases, the benefits extend even further. Through our involvement in the creation of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music (EMCM) at Musician’s Village in New Orleans, we have been part of a project that adds “advancement of the arts” to the roster of public benefits.
Signer Harris Architects has represented New Orleans Habitat Musician’s Village, a Foundation led by Harry Connick, Jr., Branford Marsalis and Ann Marie Wilkins, on the realization of this unique community center in the Upper Ninth Ward – a home for support, education, and the preservation of the musical traditions that are so vital to the neighborhood, indeed to us all. We have worked with Mathes Brierre of New Orleans, the building architects; Talaske acoustic consultants of Chicago, Broadmoor Construction, the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, and with the EMCM staff and many others to create a facility that includes a state-of-the-art Performance Hall, suitable for recording as well as performances.
The grand opening for the EMCM was held on August 25th, with a combination of performances, dedications, and speeches (mayor and governor). The City’s main paper described the Hall as meticulously designed and the sound as pristine. The Center is part of Musician’s Village, a community of 72 homes in the Upper Ninth Ward conceived by Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis, and recipient of the 2010 Civic Innovators Award presented by the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.