Post-Hurricane Katrina
Research and Recovery Work

Frederick D. Weil
Department of Sociology
Louisiana State University


"The Roots of Music"
An After-School Music Program for
New Orleans

For middle school children, age 9-14, in New Orleans. Founded and led by Rebirth Brass Band snare-drummer, Derrick Tabb. I serve as Secretary of the Board of Directors. Our research team is also evaluating the contribution of this program to the hurricane recovery of students' families.

"As the small gold helmets of The Roots of Music Marching Band bobbed along St. Charles Avenue last weekend, onlookers repeatedly uttered one phrase. "Too cute!" they'd scream, pointing at a tiny cymbal player or an elfin saxophonist." New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 18, 2009 (link below)

For current news, see the Roots of Music Blog, here
The main Roots of Music website is here
For current photos, see our Picasa page, here

See these News Stories:

  • CBS Early Show airs a 5-minute feature on the Roots of Music, August 27, 2010, "Band Program Inspires Katrina Youth. Michelle Miller profiles two young boys who survived hurricane Katrina but lost everything. Five years later, "The Roots of Music" band program is helping them look toward the future."
  • NPR, All Things Considered, August 24, 2010, "The Music Of New Orleans, After The Storm," Nick Spitzer discusses some of the musicians and musical projects in New Orleans who have been active since the storm, including ... Derrick Tabb and the Roots of Music program. Here.
  • CNN Hero Derrick Tabb started an afterschool music program that caught the attention of actor Tim Robbins. August 14, 2010.
  • New Orleans Gambit cover story, February 22, 2010, "The Roots of Music. An acclaimed afterschool program for at-risk youth, may run out of funding at the end of next month." Here.
  • Derrick is named a "Top Ten CNN Hero of the Year!" October 2, 2009.
  • Derrick is named a "CNN Hero!" August 7, 2009.
  • 2 Feature stories on CNN, 4th of July, 2009.
  • Feature story on national NBC Nightly News, April 30, 2009, below, or here.
  • Story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, April 28, 2009, here.
  • Story in Rolling Stone Magazine, Feb 24, 2009, here.
  • Front-Page story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 18, 2009, here.
  • Story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 12, 2009, here.
  • New Orleans Gambit Weekly story, June 24, 2008, here.
  • Front-Page story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 2, 2008, here.

Recent Gigs -
(always see the Roots website for the most up-to-date info)


  • Mardi Gras parades
    • Feb 5 - Oshun
    • Feb 6 - Alla
    • Feb 9 - WHO DAT (N.O. Saints victory parade!)
    • Feb 11 - Muses
    • Feb 13 - Nomtoc (West Bank)
    • Feb 14 - Bacchus
    • Feb 15 - Orpheus


  • February - Mardi Gras parades: Bacchus, Orpheus, Muses, Pygmalion, Alla
  • March 21 - Earth Fest at Audubon Zoo (11:30-12:15pm)
  • April 4 - CAC's Jammin on Julia block party (7-8pm)
    • We will be marching through the CBD
  • April 23 - Benefit for the Roots of Music at the Colton School (2300 St. Claude), 7.30 pm
  • April 30 - Jazz & Heritage Festival (5-6:15pm)
    • Marching around the entire fair grounds
  • May 16 - Save Our Schools Benefit at the Federal Bank Reserve (downtown)
  • May 23 - Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival at Bayou St. John in Mid-City
  • Nov 7 - WWII Museum (details TBA)

Roots of Music at Nomtoc Parade, Algiers, Mardi Gras 2010


Roots of Music Director
Derrick Tabb

Band Director Lawrence Rawlins

Reginald Williams
plays tuba for the first time!


CBS Early Show, August 27, 2010, "Band Program Inspires Katrina Youth"


Preview for Feature story on CNN, August 14, 2010


Feature story on national NBC Nightly News, April 30, 2009

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy



A promotional video

 Independent filmmakers Richard Barber and Andre Lambertson
are making an amazing film featuring Roots, "The Whole Gritty City."
See here.

 More photos are here

Working out a Drum Routine
(Most of the students had never played 6 months before)


Working with the Lower Brass
(Most of the students had never played 6 months before)


Tutoring while others are Rehearsing

more videos here, and here, and here, and here


Organizing meeting at Café du Monde, New Orleans, during JazzFest, April 2008
From left: Allison Reinhardt, Matt Sakakeeny, Donna Santiago, Rick Weil, Paul Siegel, Derrick Tabb

  • The program is led by Derrick Tabb, snare drummer for the Rebirth Brass Band, probably the most important younger brass band in New Orleans, and it has support from most of the major New Orleans musicians who carry the city’s musical traditions. Derrick is executive director of the Roots of Music Foundation, which leads the effort; Allison Reinhardt is Vice President.,
  • Lawrence Rawlins is Band Director, and Shoan Ruffin is Drum Instructor. Mr. Rawlins is an accredited music instructor and has held the position of Band Director throughout the Orleans Parish school system for over 10 years. Mr. Ruffin has been teaching for 17 years in New Orleans middle and high schools. After evacuating from Hurricane Katrina, he taught at Delaware State University, and has since returned to New Orleans. Plus instructors Allen Dejan, Curriculum Director / Woodwinds Instructor, and Edward Lee, Lower Brass Instructor.
  • Matt Sakakeeny, Music Professor at Tulane, board member of Roots of Music, and formerly co-producer of the “American Routes” radio show on NPR, provides advice and guidance.
  • Rob Wallis and Paul Siegel, co-Presidents of Hudson Music, and owners/partners of the Drummers Collective, New York, have been members of the drums/percussion/music community for close to 30 years and assist in building networks with instrument manufacturers and other national musicians, also helping the program acquire instruments. Hudson Music provides video and audio products for music instruction and entertainment, with special expertise in drumming and jazz., 
  • Duffie A. Adelson, President, and Betsy Ko, Director of the “Bridges: Partners in Music” off-site program, Merit School of Music in Chicago, provide expert guidance in program organization and development. Merit was founded in 1979 to provide after-school instruction to the children of Chicago’s public schools, when that city’s arts programs were ended. Since then, Merit has educated 46,000 students. Merit owns its own facility and also offers weekly instruction to more than 5,000 students at 90 Chicago Public Schools, private schools, community centers and homeless shelters.  
  • Rick Weil, Sociology Professor at LSU, evaluates how participation in the program benefits parents and communities from which the students come. He is doing research and recovery work on post-Katrina New Orleans, supported by the National Science Foundation, and is working closely with many community organizations.

back to top

Back to my Post-Katrina work (start page)
Back to my teaching Home page

All original material copyright (c) 2005-2013, by Frederick Weil, all rights reserved.
May be cited for scholarly purposes with attribution, except where noted.