[JPL] Plan swaps sounds of gunfire for jazz

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Sat Aug 16 18:10:11 EDT 2008

      Plan swaps sounds of gunfire for jazz

        Posted by tbaquet
        <http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/about.html> August 15, 2008

A group of churches and nonprofits Friday announced a novel plan to 
steer young people away from violence and into the teaching hands of 
some of the city's best jazz musicians and artists. The price of entry: 
a gun.

On Sept. 6, young people who appear at either of two centers with a gun 
can ask New Orleans police to swap it -- no questions asked -- for 
musical instruments or cameras, and then enroll in a jazz or arts 
education program, said the Rev. Bill Terry, who unveiled the Horns for 
Guns initiative.

Other parts of the program will offer counseling and support to parents 
of murdered children. And ad hoc neighborhood leaders will get training 
in what to look for and where to send struggling friends who need mental 
health care, he said.

No guns are required to obtain those services, he said.

Gun buyback programs are an old anti-crime technique, and one generally 
thought to be not very useful.

But in Terry's explanation Friday at Christ Church Cathedral Episcopal, 
the presentation of a gun is the least important element of the program 
-- almost of symbolic value.

More important is what comes next: steering young people into music 
education at the hands of people such as Derrick Tabb, the drummer for 
the Rebirth Brass Band, whose Roots of Music Foundation passes on the 
city's jazz tradition to young people.

Terry and others, such as the Rev. Willie Gable of Progressive Baptist 
Church, emphasized that young people have to be given safe alternatives 
to be kept away from violence.

In fact, "If we get 300 kids and only 20 have guns, 300 kids are going 
to get horns, " Terry said.

Besides music education, Horns for Guns will provide instruction in 
photography and other graphic arts, Terry said. Adults will get access 
to mental health care, he said.

Terry's innovative ministry at St. Anna Episcopal Church has attracted 
national attention. It is at St. Anna that Terry maintains a gruesome 
"murder board" listing the names of every homicide victim in New 
Orleans. Since Katrina, the church has also hosted weekly jam sessions 
for musicians, providing some financial support for them and creating a 
neighborhood center.

Sponsors said the Horns for Guns program opens Sept. 6 from 2 p.m. to 6 
p.m. at the Treme Community Center, 900 N. Villere, and Progressive 
Baptist Church, 1214 S. Robertson.

Terry said the program stitches together a number of disparate programs 
such as Tabb's Roots for Music and the mental health initiative REACH 
NOLA. He said it has money from an array of donors to supply 300 horns, 
cameras and other supplies. Wall Street's iconic Trinity Episcopal 
Church will collect for it among its congregation in two weeks, he said.

/Bruce Nolan can be reached at bnolan at timespicayune.com or 504.826.3344./

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