Famed New Orleans Jazz Hall to Reopen

Among Hurricane Katrina's victims was a sacred jazz institution: Preservation Hall.

Preservation Hall was built in 1750 as a private residence. Since then, it has been an inn, a tavern, a photo studio and an art gallery. In 1961, it opened its doors as a jazz hall. Founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe wanted it to be a haven for the music.

"Preservation Hall is inaugurated by the people who were concerned about the fate of traditional jazz in New Orleans," said Tom Piazza, author of the book "Why New Orleans Matters." "Well, when I think about things that I can't wait [to get] back to, certainly at the top of the list is being able to walk in Preservation Hall."

It will open this evening, after months of cleaning and rehab work. It's a sign that perhaps the music of the city is coming back to life.

A new CD to benefit Katrina victims will also be released today. "Our New Orleans" features music by Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dr. John, Randy Newman and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

"New Orleans music and New Orleans culture has a spiritual force that is recognized around the world," Piazza said. "Out of very difficult circumstances, people in New Orleans have fashioned a resounding 'yes' to life."

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