Publication: The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Some of New Orleans’ most famed musicians — Harry Connick Jr., Branford Marsalis, Allen Toussaint and Art Neville — are slated to perform during this year’s NBA All-Star game this weekend.
The game is being held Sunday at the New Orleans Arena, but special events — such as performances by pianist Dr. John and Cajun fiddler Amanda Shaw — will be held in the two days leading up to the game. Shaw performs Friday, and Dr. John on Saturday.
“American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, who performed the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl, will sing the title track “Tattoo” from her self-titled debut album during the halftime of the game on Sunday.
The performances are scheduled air nightly Friday through Sunday on TNT at 7 p.m.
Other New Orleans musicians slated to perform over the weekend are Ivan Neville, Ellis Marsalis, Kermit Ruffins, Rebirth Brass Band, Trombone Shorty, Jonathan Baptiste, Davell Crawford, Stephanie Jordan, and Christian Scott.
Connick and Branford Marsalis, both Louisiana-born musicians, collaborated to create the predominantly Louisiana lineup that includes artists with jazz, funk and blues backgrounds. They both perform Sunday.
Connick said in a prepared statement issued to the media that the musical element in the All-Star game is meant to serve as a celebration of the rebirth of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005.
“New Orleans is a vibrant music mecca, and I’m proud to call this great city my home,” Connick said in the statement issued earlier this month. “Branford and I are truly grateful to the NBA for its commitment to put New Orleans and our extraordinary musicians on a global stage for the whole world to see.”
Connick and Marsalis have been active in the city’s recovery from Katrina. They helped launch the Musicians Village, a Habitat for Humanity project in the city’s devastated 9th Ward neighborhood to provide affordable housing for musicians and others who lost their homes in Katrina’s flooding.
At Musicians’ Village, 68 homes are complete or under construction, though plans call for 72 single family homes and five duplexes to be built, as well a music center and park. More than 40 families are living in the village; 23 are musicians.