One gem of New Orleans culture was long gone before Hurricane Katrina hit, but her music and message are poised to reach larger audiences when a Philadelphia-based production team rolls out its remix and tour.
Sister Gertrude Morgan was born in 1900 in Alabama and died in 1980. At age 39, she decided to carry God's message to what she called the "headquarters of sin," New Orleans. It was there she preached, painted — and recorded an album.
Let's Make a Record, issued in 1970, was a cappella gospel with Morgan's tambourine as accompaniment. Though her paintings became widely collected and displayed, the album remained obscure.
Last year, a traveling exhibition of Morgan's work organized by the American Folk Art Museum prompted Preservation Hall to re-release Let's Make a Record. Now, Philadelphia DJ King Britt has put his own spin on it, positioning Sister Gertrude for exposure to a wider audience.
King Britt and his producing partner are putting together a live band to take Sister Gertrude Morgan's message on tour next month, including a hurricane relief concert in New York City.