The New Orleans Jazz Celebration (NOJC) is a nonprofit organization created in 1994 by the Louisiana Music Commission to develop innovative youth jazz programs across the region. NOJC fulfills its mission by conducting several activities throughout the year to introduce young audiences to America’s original indigenous artform. Every year, the organization holds its “What a Wonderful World” Art-Essay/Poetry Contest, honoring the legacy of Louis Armstrong through outstanding artistic work from students focused thematically on the essence of jazz in New Orleans.
Last year’s essay winner, Niyah Williams of Lafayette Academy, wrote: “The world is too beautiful to have so much drama. We should be able to see the beauty and colors of the world instead of the darkness. We overlook the diversity of all the good things the world has in store for us and take it all for granted. People should be able to cherish and admire the world around them.They should be able to understand how alluring the world is. These are all the things that will make the world wonderful.”
NOJC will honor this year’s winners on Wednesday, June 13 at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music (1901 Bartholomew St.). Students from Kindergarten to 12th grade, hailing from schools across the city (Ben Franklin Elementary, Alton Elementary, Morris Jeff, Arthur Ashe Charter, Warren East, Mount Carmel Academy) will be awarded for their outstanding artwork and poetry. The festivities will run form 4-5:30 p.m., with live jazz entertainment, beverages and light food provided before the ceremony begins.