Frequently Asked Questions
On July 5, 2016 Irvin Mayfield resigned as board member and Artistic Director for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The Board of Directors accepted his resignation. Mr. Mayfield stated that “The last few months have been a trying and difficult period for many I care about deeply, for the city I love, and for myself personally… I have made the decision to step down from my post as Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Effective immediately, I will turn my focus to my first love – music.”
Q1: Had the NOJO Board discussed Mr. Mayfield stepping down as NOJO’s Artistic Director?
A. Yes. It is not unusual in a circumstance such as this for a Board to discuss alternatives.
Q2: Who will be replacing Mr. Mayfield?
A. An artistic committee will support the organization while it is in transition. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and arts executive producer Mikki Shepard will serve as the committee’s co-chairs. Jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and architect, professor and NOJO board member Ken Schwartz will serve as committee members. Adonis Rose, who has performed with the NOJO for fourteen years, will serve as music director. The board is grateful to Irvin Mayfield for creating an award-winning, internationally acclaimed organization. We are pleased that the distinguished members of the artistic committee have agreed to assist us in sustaining the level of excellence that has been achieved at the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market (PHNOJM), and we look forward to focusing our efforts on NOJO’s mission as we move forward.
Q3. Who will be in charge of the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market operations going forward?
A. This will not change. The PHNOJM staff will continue to report to President and CEO Ronald Markham. The Board of Directors has confidence in Mr. Markham and his leadership abilities.
Q4. How will the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market operations be impacted?
A. The PHNOJM is open every day serving the NOLA community. The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra creates Jazz to enhance life, transform place, and elevate spirit. As a performing arts organization, its goal is to strengthen the business of Jazz through performances, tours, recordings, education and media platforms. NOJO is the first and only performing arts institution committed solely to the development of an Industry for Jazz in the city that created it.
Q5. What is the relationship between NOJO and the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market?
A. The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra owns and operates the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market. The PHNOJM is a performing arts venue and Jazz community center in Central City, New Orleans. The Jazz Market features music education experiences for all ages, a New Orleans Jazz Archive, tributes to current and past Jazz Masters, and performances by the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and other renowned musicians.
Q6. What was the specific purpose of the NOPLF money issued to NOJO?
A. To build a Central City storefront branch of the public library system as detailed in the New Orleans Public Library System master plan published in 2008 (Link see pages 12 and 13). Central City is an under-served neighborhood. Our decision to build the PHNOJM at the corner or Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is recognition of the historical value of the neighborhood, the right to access and quality services that the citizens of Central City deserve, and the bright future that the entire corridor could have with the proper investment and attention.
Q7. Can you describe the planned library-centric components of the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market?
A. The current and active components include but are not limited to free broadband WIFI access, a book and periodical collection of over 700 titles that cover topics from children’s literature to early Jazz history, a digital archive of NOJO’s and other performances, adult literacy and writing training, family reading hour on Saturday mornings, free daytime concerts, coffee service, health and wellness seminars, lectures on Jazz topics, a digital archive that includes; music scores, white papers on Jazz and social equality and educational games for children that exercise cognitive abilities; in addition, we also provide financial literacy seminars and arts/crafts for children. We provide space for non-profit board activity like community meetings and neighborhood association gatherings. These activities usually take place in the lobby (2700 sq. ft.) of the PHNOJM, but can expand into the larger footprint (10,000 sq. ft.) of the facility. The future plans are to improve the existing programming to better serve the needs of the community. The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra staff updates and maintains the archive. The purpose of the library is to fulfill the Storefront branch as detailed in the 2008 New Orleans Public Library System Master Plan.
Q8. In the MOU, why is some of the money in the form of future benefit concerts?
A. The settlement and its terms were agreed upon by NOJO and NOPLF as a result of the NOPLF independent financial review. The MOU is a joint commitment to fulfill the terms as stated in the agreement.
Q9. Will Irvin Mayfield perform with the NOJO even though he has resigned as Artistic Director?
A. Mr. Mayfield is no longer Artistic Director or a member of the board. He will fulfill his contractual obligations to the orchestra.
Q10. Will NOJO repay the $150,000 in payments directed to the Youth Rescue Initiative?
A. NOJO isn’t involved in payments from the NOPLF and the Youth Rescue Initiative. That matter is between those two organizations.
Q12. What is the financial picture of NOJO today? What is your operating budget?
A. NOJO’s operating budget, depending on activity, is between $1.0 MM and $1.5MM annually.
Q13. Is there a number of kids who have passed through its doors since opening? A description or inventory of its library materials? Number of programs?
A. We estimate that more than 3,000 children under the age of 17 have experienced the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market since its opening in April 2015. The digital archive/library features educational games (word search, memory, geography, etc…), a NOJO music library, music scores and white papers on Jazz and social equality. We are updating and expanding the digital library/archive on an ongoing basis. The library’s stacks hold about 700 titles that include classic literature, children’s interests, architecture, interior design, modern fiction, a curated LP collection, books on early Jazz, Jazz “Fake Books” (a collection of jazz songbooks), visual art, the culinary arts and other topics.