"It all began the day after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Friends of mine, Traynter and Meg Turpin of West Palm Beach, Florida wanted to help, got out the word and organized the neighbors. For days calls were made and we collected everything from water and canned food to clothing, flashlights, generators, toys, folding chairs, camp stoves, toys and an incredible variety of gifts to send to the people impacted by Katrina. Individuals gave whatever they could. Many businesses provided cash for supplies, inventory from their stores and much more. It was an amazing outpouring of compassion and caring that reflects the very best in us all.
By September 8th 2005, Daniel Cleary, a dear friend of mine, and myself started the trip to Louisiana, driving a 24' truck - filled to the max. We didn't know exactly where we were going; we had friends in the area and trusted that they would work it out by the time we got there. Sure enough, friends and colleagues of ours from Michigan, (connections through membership in the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association), New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Baton Rouge and Lafayette made all the repeated calls that were necessary to get through the damaged phone systems and arranged distribution, through a local church (The Family Church, Lafayette, LA). They got directions, found out where the displaced people we know were located, found the connections for us to stay and kept us laughing.
I felt so honored and blessed to be a small part in this first step of a journey, that exemplifies the best aspects of all that we are as people, I wanted to share this experience and wrote an article for the newspaper of my home town Norden, which happens to be a 750 year old town in the rural area of Northern Germany.
Inspired by the article in the newspaper, the Seaside Jazzmen – a Dixieland band from Norden (playing together for the past 31 years) decided to donate the money they made from a benefit concert, to the musicians in New Orleans. Their thought behind this idea was that if it weren’t for the musicians from New Orleans, they would not be playing the music they love so much. And they wanted to give back to those who gave them so much.
Before I went back home for Christmas, The Seaside Jazzmen contacted me, asking if I would be willing to find an organization supporting musicians in New Orleans and act as their ambassadress to present their gift. I agreed and learned about a project called “Musicians’ Village” through Habitat for Humanity, conceived by Ellis Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr.
This project will help restore New Orleans’ musical heritage by building homes for displaced New Orleans musicians. Its centerpiece will be the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, dedicated to the education and development of musicians, homeowners and others who are rebuilding their city.
On March 31st, 2006, I will have the honor to present the check from the Seaside Jazzmen to the New Orleans Area, Habitat for Humanity. I am deeply moved to be part of this international connection; musicians supporting musicians, bridging continents.
Since it is all set up and Habitat for Humanity is happy to receive donations for their Musicians’ Village ..… I am asking you, when you feel touched or inspired by the thought of helping to bring back the music to New Orleans, to allow me be your ambassadress also. Please contact me, I will make certain that your gift gets there, I deliver it in person"
Read more of Okka Holthuis work at: http://www.rainbowhealingcenter.com