Musicians Sound Call for Louisiana Coast to Candidates

Musicians Sound Call for Louisiana Coast to CandidatesDr. John, Funky Meters, REM, Pearl Jam, Allen Toussaint and others ask Presidential Contenders to Commit to Gulf Coast Wetlands, Recovery and DebateInternationally known musicians have united with Louisiana artists to call on the Presidential candidates to debate in New Orleans about Louisiana coastal wetlands restoration and hurricane recovery. With the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina looming, musicians are urging the candidates to weigh in on Gulf Coast issues which need Federal leadership — Louisiana Coastal wetlands rebuilding and a sustainable hurricane recovery, by attending a Presidential Forum being organized by the websites Google and YouTube.The Gulf Restoration Network partnered with Grammy-nominated musician Tab Benoit and his Voice of the Wetlands organization to enlist more than 90 musicians and music industry leaders on a letter to the candidates urging them to support Louisiana coastal wetlands rebuilding, a sustainable hurricane recovery and to present plans on both issues at the Google/YouTube forum. The letter was signed by a wide range of musicians and music industry voices; from New Orleans own Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville, Dr. John, Galactic, and Funky Meters to internationally known acts like REM, Pearl Jam, Trent Reznor, 311, Ok Go, Jackson Browne, My Morning Jacket and the Indigo Girls.Rounder recording artist Amanda Shaw, a New Orleans based singer, songwriter and fiddler, turned 18 years old this week but has been an advocate for Louisiana’s wetlands since she was 14. “As a first time voter, I want to make sure they know how much we need our wetlands and hear their plans to restore the coast because the wetlands take care of us and protect us,” said Shaw. 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 (currently 25 square miles per year) as a primary reason that New Orleans’ federal levees failed during Katrina.Stanton Moore, a founding member and drummer for Galactic stated, “New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and has influenced about every American style of music that followed, from rock to hip hop. The next President will need to prioritize restoring our coast to continue the recovery process. The culture of our whole country depends on it.”Benoit explains, “This forum is the perfect opportunity for the people of Louisiana to voice their concerns about rebuilding our wetlands and communities. It creates the opportunity to get the Presidential candidates to make concrete proposals for how we can ensure that Hurricane Katrina does not happen again.”Expected to use a format similar to the YouTube forum in the primaries, members of the public will be able to ask questions of the candidates by submitting YouTube videos. Despite high-profile support from Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin as well as the New Orleans area universities, neither Senator Barack Obama nor Senator John McCain have committed to the event.###To read the letter and see the complete list of signatories, please visit:[rokdownload menuitem=”83″ downloaditem=”254″ direct_download=”true”]http://www.healthygulf.org/Candidates_Coastal_letter.pdf[/rokdownload]For more information about Louisiana’s coastal crisis, please visit:[rokdownload menuitem=”83″ downloaditem=”255″ direct_download=”true”]http://www.healthygulf.org/GRN_Defend_Our_Coast_factsheet.pdf[/rokdownload]Voice Of the Wetlands (VOW) is an organization that is made up strictly of volunteers who dedicate their talent, time and resources to bring global attention to south Louisiana and the world’s coastal erosion problem. Based in Houma, Louisiana, VOW is organizing their 5th annual Voice of the Wetlands Festival October 10-12 at the Southdown Plantation in Houma. On the web at www.voiceofthewetlands.comGulf Restoration Network (GRN) is a network of groups and individuals committed to restoring the Gulf of Mexico to an ecologically and biologically sustainable condition. Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, the GRN is the only organization solely focused on uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf. On the web at www.healthygulf.org