Kate Connick News

Dolls, books give glimpse of historic New Orleans

Publication: Associated Press
Author: Chevel Johnson 
Date: September 19, 2011

New Orleans’ rich melting-pot history has always been a big draw for authors.

But telling it through the eyes of two antebellum 9-year-old girls — one black, one white — offers unusual perspectives on life’s challenges in the mid-19th century.

American Girl Brand LLC, a subsidiary of toy giant Mattel Inc., usually introduces its dolls (and the book characters based on them) one at a time.

In August, the company launched two — called Cecile Rey and Marie-Grace Gardner — along with a six-book series set in New Orleans that details their fictional lives, friendship, and tests they and family members face in dealing with the spread of yellow fever in 1853. Read more »

Submitted by Courtney on September 20th, 2011 — 01:54pm

Ellis Marsalis Music Center crowns Musicians' Village

By Bill Capo
Eyewitness News
August 25, 2011

NEW ORLEANS — There was a standing room only crowd, with actress Renee Zellweger in the audience, for the dedication of the new Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, the centerpiece of Habitat for Humanity’s Musicians Village project in the Ninth Ward.

Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis played key roles in developing the Musicians Village, and the center, but as performers, they called this hall acoustically perfect.

“You’re in the middle of the Upper 9th Ward,” said Connick.  “You’ve got the highest level of state-of-the-art technical facility here. it is like all these worlds coming together.”

“You could bring a string quartet in here, and they could play without one shred of amplification, and everybody in here could hear every note in here regardless of the volume,” raved Marsalis.

“You could also bring Dr. John in here with his full band, and people would love every minute of it.”
Read more »

Ellis Marsalis Center for Music has Many 'Fathers'

THE TMES PICAYUNE/ NOLA.com
August 27, 2011
By Keith Spera

Two days before Thursday’s official unveiling of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, I asked Harry Connick Jr., a driving force behind its creation, if he felt like an expectant father.

“Sort of,” Connick joked. “I guess if I lived in a commune, and it was polygamous, and you didn’t know who the father was.”

His point was, it takes a village to raise a Village. The new,multimillion-dollar arts education center in the Musicians’ Village has many fathers.

Among them were Connick’s close friend, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and the duo’s longtime manager, Ann Marie Wilkins.

She, Connick made clear, handled most of the grunt work — the paperwork, the endless meetings, the logistics, the sweet-talking, the arm-twisting.

“There’s people that are way ahead of me in the credit line for this,” Connick said. “I’ve been a big mouthpiece for it, and tried my best to raise money for it. Ann Marie, they should canonize her. She made this happen. We just do what she says.”

New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, under executive director Jim Pate, developed the Musicians’ Village from an idea Marsalis and Connick hatched while driving to Houston soon after Hurricane Katrina to entertain evacuees.

Ellis Marsalis Center for Music opens in Musicians' Village

Thursday, August 25, 2011
By Keith Spera
The Times-Picayune

On Wednesday afternoon, Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis kicked the proverbial tires at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, the new, multimillion-dollar arts, educational and community center in the upper 9th Ward’s Musicians’ Village.
Marsalis Center for Music
They jokingly checked under classroom desks for gum. They strode the dance studio’s wood floor. They demonstrated the 1.5-millisecond echo in the 150-capacity, acoustically engineered performance hall.

Had such a facility existed when he was a boy, Connick marveled, “I would have been here every day.”

The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, named for Branford’s father, the storied jazz pianist and educator, officially opens today with a private celebration.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mayor Mitch Landrieu are expected to speak. Connick, the senior Marsalis, and Branford and several of his siblings are slated to perform.
Read more »

American Girl Partners with 13-Year-Old Kate Connick and Her Father, Harry Connick, Jr.

IT’S A FIRST! AMERICAN GIRL UNVEILS TWO HISTORICAL CHARACTERS  SHARING ONE UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY THROUGH NEW ORLEANS IN 1853

Company Partners with 13-Year-Old Kate Connick and Her Father, Harry Connick, Jr.,
to Debut Original Song, “
A Lot Like Me

Middleton, WI—August 08, 2011: For the first time in American Girl’s 25-year history, the company is introducing two different historical characters, Cécile Rey and Marie-Grace Gardner, in one six-book series set in 1850s New Orleans. The new characters—one African American and one Caucasian—show the power of friendship and community as they reach across the boundaries of race and class to help their families, friends, and city during a time of great need. To celebrate Cécile and Marie-Grace’s debut and the rich musical tradition of New Orleans, American Girl has partnered with 13-year-old Kate Connick and her father, world-renowned musician and actor Harry Connick, Jr., to create an original song—“A Lot Like Me”—with all proceeds benefiting the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans.
Read more »

Submitted by Ben on August 8th, 2011 — 02:00pm