Opening the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music

The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in the Musicians' Village. Photo by L. Kasimu Harris.

Ellis Marsalis. Photo by L. Kasimu Harris.

At an event celebrating music education, Governor Bobby Jindal remembered his music teacher’s frank assessment of his potential. “I was told if you work hard every day, you might be okay,” he said. Jindal and Mayor Mitch Landrieu were among the dignitaries on hand August 25 to celebrate the opening and dedication of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in Musicians’ Village. The ceremony was presided over by Branford Marsalis, who was a driving force behind the Musicians’ Village and the multi-purpose center, which houses a studio, practice and instructional spaces, and a state of the art performance hall. Marsalis demonstrated the quality of the sound as he played a duet on “Do You Know it Means to Miss New Orleans” while standing an unusual distance from his mic with no drop in sound quality or volume.

Ellis’ accomplishments were celebrated in words—“Instead of going to the world, he has brought the world here,” Landrieu said—and music. Connick, Branford, Jason Marsalis and bassist Nobu Ozaki played one of his compositions, “12’s It.”

When he finally spoke, Ellis returned the focus to the center’s purpose. “I view what you see here as a beginning,” he said. “When you hear about the center, it’ll be about young people pursuing their craft.”