Musicians sound call for the Louisiana coast

Dr. John, Meters, REM, and nearly 200 others ask President Obama to Commit to Gulf Wetlands in Letter and Voodoo Experience Press Conference

Internationally known musicians have united with Louisiana artists to call on President Obama to follow through on his initial steps towards a federal commitment to Louisiana coastal wetlands restoration. With the passage of the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, musicians have urged the President to take action for the Gulf Coast through a letter and a press conference at last weekend’s Voodoo Experience music festival in New Orleans City Park.

pressconferenceThe Gulf Restoration Network partnered with Grammy-nominated musician Tab Benoit and his Voice of the Wetlands organization to enlist nearly 200 musicians and music industry leaders on a letter to the President urging immediate action to save Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.  Said Tab at a press conference Sunday at the Voodoo Experience, “We’re saying this is a Presidential decision: Make one.  We need to fix this, or we need to move.  This isn’t just a Louisiana problem, this is a national problem.”  Louisiana loses a football field worth of wetlands every 45 minutes due to the impacts of levees and jetties built on the Mississippi River and exacerbated by the tens of thousands of miles of oil and gas canals dredged through the coastal zone.

The Gulf Restoration Network was the official non-profit partner of the festival, and used that platform to send the message that without the coastal wetlands, New Orleans future cannot be assured.  Said SIG with Rehage Entertainment,the company which produces the festival, “We need the wetlands for our survival.  Without the wetlands, Voodoo isn’t possible.”  Four years ago, after Hurricane Katrina, City Park was under four feet of water, and the festival had to be moved to Memphis, with a smaller, free festival organized in Audubon Park.

The letter (view here ) was signed by a wide range of musicians and music industry voices; from New Orleans own Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Galactic, and Funky Meters to internationally known acts like REM, Trent Reznor, Ok Go, Los Lobos and Bonnie Raitt.  Voodoo performers Dan Dyer, the Drive-By TruckersGogol BordelloJJ Grey & Mofro,the KnuxParliment-Funkadelic, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Generationals, Warsaw and many others added their support as well.

The musicians have joined the call for Louisiana’s coastal wetlands in part because of the role New Orleans has played in helping create the sound of our nation.  Said Galactic’s drummer Stanton Moore, “Everything we listen to has a backbeat – whether it’s country, hip-hop, funk, or rock and roll, it all has a backbeat.  The backbeat wasn’t created in LA or New York, it was created here in New Orleans.  If we want to protect our culture, we need to protect the wetlands.” Coastal experts have estimated that every mile of coastal wetlands that a storm travels over diminishes its surge by as much as a foot and point to the ongoing loss of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands as a primary reason that New Orleans’ federal levees failed during Katrina.


For more information about Louisiana’s coastal wetlands crisis, and to add your name to the call for the coast, please visit:

Voice Of the Wetlands (VOW) is an organization that is made up of volunteers who dedicate their talent, time and resources to bring global attention to south Louisiana and the world's coastal erosion problem.   On the web

Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) is a network of groups and individuals committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico.  On the web at

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