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Donaldsonville to dedicate Bicentennial Jazz Plaza May 26
(Published: May 10, 2007)

DONALDSONVILLE. LA - City officials invite the public to help dedicate a special piece of the city to local jazz music May 26, as it holds a special ceremony for the Bicentennial Jazz Plaza.

The event will begin at 4 p.m. at the plaza, located at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Charles Street.

The event is sponsored by the City of Donaldsonville, the Bicentennial Commemorative Jazz Committee and the Donaldsonville Tourist Commission.

"Donaldsonville was a hotbed of musical activity in the late 1800s and early 1900s," said Kathe Hambrick Jackson, director of the River Road Aftrican American Museum. "Many of the early musicians developed an interest and talent while living on or near the plantations in the rural communities of Ascension Parish. Donaldsonville and Ascension Parish are fortunate to have several notable musicians as native sons.

"This bicentennial monument will serve as a site of enduring significance that documents, preserves and celebrates the rural musicians, famous and unsung, from this region," Hambrick Jackson continued. "It also stands as a monument in recognition of the people and neighborhoods that nourished these musicians and laid the foundation for jazz that carved a uniquely prominent position on the world stage.

The plaza will recognize legendary jazz musicians from the area such as Claiborne Williams, Joseph "King" Oliver, Willie Foster, Richard Myknee Jones, George "Pops" Foster, Davidson C. Nelson and Emanuel Sayles.

The event will also include a brief presentation by Joyce Jackson of Louisiana State Univesity on the history of jazz and the river parishes. Live music for the dedication will feature Don Vappe; Thaddeus Richard;Plas Johnson, best known for his solo saxophone performance in the "Theme from The Pink Panther"; and Renald Richard, best known as Ray Charles' first band leader.

A special tribute to Claiborne Williams will be played by New Orleans' only female brass band, The Pinettes.

Submitted By: Kathe Hambrick Jackson

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