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Gulf oil spill: The concert!

May 10, 2010 |  6:01 pm

Kravitz Every disaster requires a splashy celeb-heavy music bash. So why not the big gusher in the gulf?  Rocker Lenny Kravitz, who owns a house in the French Quarter, was the first to sign up for a Gulf Aid concert in New Orleans. Rain or shine, the music and food fest will be held Sunday, May 16, at Mardi Gras World's scenic River City, with panoramic views of the Mississippi.

Among a host of local and national musicians, it will also feature Allen Toussaint, Mos Def, Ani DiFranco, The Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Tickets cost $50 and are exclusively available through Elevate Tickets.

The fundraiser, from noon to 10 p.m., will benefit fishing families and wetlands restoration. Along with the music, merchants will be selling shrimp, oysters and a message: Louisiana seafood is safe to eat, despite the fact that authorities have closed off vast swaths of the coast to harvesting. The uncontrolled BP oil well, which exploded on April 20, is spewing 210,000 gallons a day, with no definitive fix in sight.

"Thousands of families across south Louisiana will potentially be impacted for years to come and will need all the help they can get to survive," said Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. "They bring the catch of Louisiana seafood to America's tables.  Without them we lose a vital part of our culture."

Other scheduled performers include Zachary Richard, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Irvin Mayfield's Playhouse Review, Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers, Jeremy Davenport, Rebirth Brass Band, MyNameIsJohnMichael, with additional artists to be announced. (The Voice of the Wetlands Allstars features Tab Benoit, Dr. John, Cyril Neville, George Porter Jr., Waylon Thibodeaux, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Sansone and Johnny Vidacovich).

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage radio station WWOZ 90.7-FM will broadcast live from the concert, which will also be streamed live on the Internet on Sidney D. Torres IV, owner of SDT Waste and Debris a garbage and street-cleaning company, is a concert financer and organizer. Years ago, the St. Bernard Parish native worked as a personal assistant to Kravitz and remains close to him, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Rehage Entertainment, producer of the Voodoo Experience and the Essence Music Festival, is producing Gulf Aid.

Donations may also be sent to Gulf Aid, a 501 C3 nonprofit corporation, at P.O. Box 6917, Metairie, LA 70009.

Updates on the concert will be posted at, on twitter/GulfAid and on Facebook (search: gulf relief).

--Margot Roosevelt

Photo: Lenny Kravitz performing at the Corel Centre in Ottawa, Canada in 2005. Credit/Jonathan Hayward/Associated Press