Wynton interviewed by French newspaper Le Monde

Wynton talked to the french newspaper Le Monde, about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. 
Here is the interview translated in English:

“People love this town too much. She cannot disappear”
Trumpet player and composer, Wynton Marsalis was born in New Orleans, on October 18 1961. His father, Ellis Marsalis, excellent pianist (born in 1934), is the son of one of the first New Orleans black business owner: a gas station soon expanded into a motel. His brothers Branford (1960) and Delfeayo (1965) are also well known musicians. Exceptional interpreter, Wynton Marsalis lead the programming and activities of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. Reached by phone Friday September 9th, he gives his thoughts on the catastrophe which struck his town in a weary and discreetly broken voice.

Do you have good news about your family?
My family survived. I have a big number of relatives in and around town. My father, my mother, cousins, children: everybody is alive. They left town for the neighboring cities, everywhere they were welcomed.

What are you feeling?
A feeling of loss, a great and deep loss. At the same time, I know that at the slightest opportunity, life will come back, New Orleans will be rebuilt: I know it is possible. Of course it is a money issue, but money is not the problem, it is a question of will.

Has the music world been deeply touched?
Yes, although the French Quarter and its institutions like Preservation Hall – historic club which perpetuate since 1961, The “New Orleans” Jazz tradition – did not suffer too much. An organization already is taking care of the musicians. We cannot take stock yet on those who disappeared and all the treasures that the hurricane swamp, instruments, souvenirs, scores, pictures… The New Orleans Musicians Clinic is attempting to assess the toll and to bring help.

Are you preparing a relief concert?

It will happen on September 17th at Lincoln Center. You cannot believe the number of musicians who are manifesting themselves to participate. Everybody will be there. It is crucial. At any rate, life there has already started again. People want that New Orleans live again as soon as possible.

It was a town which gave birth to a particular feeling…
New Orleans is at the same time a very big and very poor city. But it has a huge “feeling”, it is loaded with soul, it’s a very soulful city. How is it caused? It’s in the heart of people, and in my opinion, it is linked to its foundation by the French.

Are you counting on international aid?
Please, yes by all means. “Please” – he repeats “please” three times. I know that, at first, -George – Bush claimed he did not want help. But governments do not reflect the spirit of the people, their feeling: they are not in sync with their emotion. Of course, the country appeared weak in front of the cyclone. It is weak. A hurricane is a catastrophe. The world is weak in front of nature’s forces, floods, fire, disasters, everything that we cannot stop.

Are people going to come back in town one day?
But they started to come back. They love the city too much. It cannot disappear.

Source: Le Monde#

« Previous Entry

Next Entry »


  1. Love this article. It’s well written, thoughtful, and expresses the passion Wynton feels about his hometown. Loved, too, the LeMonde interview. NO is not simply an international city but is, indeed, the soul of this nation. Our response to Katrina reveals the quality of our individual and national character. Each of us is being put to the test and we will not be able to hide the “grade” we earn; if our scores are not known publicly, we will know it privately…no hiding from this.


    Jurzy Girl on Sep 14th, 2005 at 8:06pm