I first met Michael White soon after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. As both musician and scholar, White had long been one of the best-known champions of the New Orleans jazz tradition.
Five years after Katrina, White’s old neighborhood is still mostly empty. Earlier this month, he sold his house to the state for a modest sum of money — it’s slated for demolition. Although he’s disheartened at just how little of New Orleans has been rebuilt, White says that in the years since Katrina he’s experienced a personal and musical “rebirth” — another New Orleans tradition.
You can see White perform “Sunday Morning” and watch an extended interview with him below: