The former Gators department store building at Martin Luther King and Oretha Castle Haley boulevards in Central City is the future home of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra's New Orleans Jazz Market. According to a release, the space will offer music education and performances as well as house a "New Orleans jazz archive."
A groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25 will feature performances from Irvin Mayfield, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ellis Marsalis. (Marsalis and 102-year-old trumpeter Lionel Ferbos are the first inductees into the market's "Walk of Fame.") Following the groundbreaking at 6 p.m. there is a town hall meeting at Ashe Cultural Arts Center (1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 504-569-9070.
The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra purchased the property last year. The building houses more than 11,000 square feet, and the venue will offer more than 600 seats. Project partners for the market include the state, the Community Development Capital, Goldman Sachs, Louisiana Economic Development, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and Prudential, Redmellon Restoration and Development.
According to documents filed with the state, the market will host at least two community "informances" and a seniors event each month, as well as a big band performance and a student big band performance each month. It also will offer one music education class a week among other events. It will be open during normal business hours six days a week when it opens following a six month construction.