Etiquette Tips for Displaced Musicians

As director of Tipitina's Foundation, Bill Taylor is trying to address the housing needs of displaced Louisiana and Delta musicians. Tipitina's Web site lists tips on how to be a good host to musicians in distress and alternatively, how to be a good guest.

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SCOTT SIMON, host

Many of the musicians throughout the Gulf region are now scattered throughout the country. The Tipitina's Foundation, which does community outreach for that legendary club in New Orleans, is helping to locate and support musicians who've been scattered by Hurricane Katrina. The foundation is also helping musicians find housing while the city is being drained. On the Tipitina's Web site, they're listing tips on what it takes to be a good host to a musician and what a musician can do to be a good guest. Bill Taylor directs the Tipitina's Foundation. He's temporarily in residence at Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Mr. Taylor, thanks for being with us.

Mr. BILL TAYLOR (Director, Tipitina's Foundation): It's pleasure to be with you.

SIMON: Now we understand that the folks at the Lake Eden Arts Festival there in North Carolina actually made up the list you're using, but let's go over it, if we can, to try and make it as specific to New Orleans and delta musicians...

Mr. TAYLOR: OK.

SIMON: ...as we can be. So what tips do you suggest to be a good host?

Mr. TAYLOR: To be a good host, well, I mean, I think, you know, musicians kind of are sort of their own breed in a sense. They stay up late, they wake up late, they're very creative people. They spend time, you know, where they're writing songs or practicing, and it's not the typical 9-to-5 job. That's just something we're just wanting to make clear, that as you--as some of these musicians go into different houses where people may be live more than 9-to-5 lifestyle, there's just gotta be a little bit of understanding to take place there.

SIMON: The family has to understand the musician and the musician has to understand the family.

Mr. TAYLOR: Exactly. And I think, you know, once we sort of lay that out and just let everybody know what the situation is, it's not going to be a problem. These musicians in New Orleans are wonderful people. The music community there is very strong. It's filled with just a lot of kindness and love, so I truthfully don't foresee any problems.

SIMON: Mm-hmm. But the host should not hesitate to say, you know, we have a couple of young kids in the household, so try not to blow your trumpet at 2 in the morning?

Mr. TAYLOR: Yes, exactly. And as we start to get our musicians into homes, we are taking a look at, you know--I mean, some of the musicians are entering homes with their children. And in that case, we're matching families, you know, with similar-aged kids. So we don't want to sort of have a real oddball match come up.

SIMON: Have you gotten calls from people saying, `Yeah, Fats Domino can stay at our place.'

Mr. TAYLOR: Oh, yeah. Fats Domino is OK. I'll let everybody know that. He's in a safe place. And for every Fats Domino or Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., there are thousands of musicians now without a home and without an instrument.

SIMON: Mr. Taylor, not to put too kind a point on it, but is it important for them to just for their self-esteem to keep playing paid gigs?

Mr. TAYLOR: Definitely. One of the many different initiatives is to reach out to different music clubs and people have been rising to the occasion. I've talked to different clubs who are doing benefit concerts for our organization and others. You know, they'll say, `We want to get some New Orleans artists.' And I said, `Well, that's great, but before I can refer one to you, I just need your assurance that these guys are gonna get paid.' They're the ones that need it.

SIMON: Bill Taylor is with the Tipitina's Night Club in New Orleans, and he's setting up housing for musicians who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Taylor, nice talking to you.

Mr. TAYLOR: It's been a pleasure, thanks.

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