Many times in life you see a need and have a vision. You are called to action because of that need. The need and our vision came in 1995 when most schools were removing arts education from the curriculum because of budget deficits.

This could have been a devastating blow to the development and perpetuation of New Orleans culture. Were we to lose our place in history as “The Birthplace of Jazz”? Something had to be done…and quick. Mayor Marc Morial and I decided to create the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp. My colleague, the late Kimberly Carbo who served as Director of the New Orleans Film and Video Commission gave the camp its name. The Armstrong Camp is the only Jazz Camp bearing the name of Louis Armstrong and sanctioned by The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc., executors of the Louis and Lucille Armstrong Estate. The New Orleans Arts and Cultural Host Committee, presenters of the camp, became partners in the struggle to provide quality music education to all races and economic backgrounds.

Here at Jazz Camp we realize that quality arts education for young people is the beginning of an appreciation for artistic expression. It instills discipline and encourages the pursuit of excellence. We believe arts education is a necessity not a privilege and each child should have the opportunity to choose the artistic medium best suited for their self-expression. We have to provide opportunities and the tools. Our youth must have access.

Louis Armstrong said, “I was fortunate enough to run into a kind man by the name, Mr. Joe Oliver…He would help me in his spare moments with my trumpet; and help me with my lessons, which proves that if we’ll help one another you just can’t miss “. Our mission encompasses transforming the lives of children by raising their self-esteem, instilling skills that encourage leadership, teamwork, problem solving, good citizenship and respect for culture at the highest level. We need your help to continue the legacy of this great city, to educate the next generation of jazz artists and to insure that any child with an interest or love for music has the opportunity to study Jazz in its birthplace. We just can’t miss.

Jackie Harris
Executive Director