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Prudential Financial Supports Rebuilding New Orleans' Cultural Heritage with Commitment to New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc.

Submitted by: Prudential Financial, Inc.

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Nov 15, 2005 – 11:00 PM EST


Nov. 15 /CSRwire/ - Guided by a firm belief that the rich cultural heritage of New Orleans must be preserved and fostered in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU) has joined the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc. (NOJO) as title sponsor of NOJO's inaugural big band national tour, titled *New Orleans: Then and Now*. The tour, which was planned in 2004, is just one of the programs offered by NOJO, a non-profit, 501(c)3 jazz education and performance organization dedicated to being at the forefront of the cultural reaffirmation process currently underway in New Orleans.

With the help of leadership from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Prudential Financial committed $300,000 to save NOJO's national tour, which was set to begin in September. The tour faced cancellation after funding disappeared following Katrina's devastation of New Orleans. NJPAC was instrumental in arranging for principals from Prudential Financial and NOJO to meet and forge a partnership. NJPAC, a presenting sponsor of *New Orleans: Then and Now*, is in further discussion with Prudential and NOJO to expand its relationship.

In the first few days following Hurricane Katrina, few things seemed certain in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. The omnipresent sense of community that characterized the City became even more muddled as Hurricane Rita rocked New Orleans again just a few weeks later. But as each day passes, the resolve of the Crescent City - its people, its rich traditions, and its culture - becomes more and more clear.

NOJO Artistic Director/Founder Irvin Mayfield - also a Grammy-nominated trumpet player and the Cultural Ambassador to the State of Louisiana and City of New Orleans - said Prudential recognized that the great legacy of jazz in New Orleans was in jeopardy and took a first step toward ensuring it will continue to hold a prominent place in New Orleans culture for years, decades and centuries to come with an investment in NOJO.

"Prudential and NJPAC are doing their part to help rescue New Orleansculture," said Mayfield, a New Orleans native who was directly affected by Hurricane Katrina. "The support Prudential Financial has provided the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc. in the wake of these horrific storms provides new life to our organization and will enable us to carry the torch for jazz in New Orleans as we rebuild our infrastructure and ensure a prominent spot for our city's rich cultural heritage."

"NOJO is one hot band and the country deserves to hear how amazing they are," said Lawrence P. Goldman, NJPAC's President and CEO. "We hope this tour is a huge success and look forward to the day, in the not-too-distant future, that NJPAC will be considered 'New Orleans North,' with Irvin and NOJO helping us to bring the best of New Orleans to New Jersey. Many thanks to our longtime partner, Prudential Financial, for its generosity and support of this vision."

"Restoring the culture, music and arts in the region is intrinsic to rebuilding the cultural economy in the Gulf South," said Bob DeFillippo, chief communications officer, Prudential Financial, Inc. "The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra represents the quality of the arts that New Orleans has birthed. Not only is our support of NOJO consistent with our commitment to growing and protecting communities, but we are honored to play a role in helping to rescue the culture that is unique to New Orleans."

About Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial companies, with approximately $522 billion in total assets under management as of September 30, 2005, serve individual and institutional customers worldwide and include The Prudential Insurance Company of America, one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States. These companies offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, mutual funds, annuities, pension and retirement related services and administration, asset management, securities brokerage, banking and trust services, real estate brokerage franchises and relocation services. For more information, visit


New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in the heart of an emerging downtown Newark, New Jersey, is the sixth largest performing arts center in the United States. Home of the Grammy(r) Award-winning New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, NJPAC has been widely cited as a catalyst in the revitalization of New Jersey's largest city, attracting over 3.5 million visitors (including more than 700,000 children) in its first nine years of operation.

About The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

Under the artistic direction of Mayfield, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc. (NOJO) has created a permanent national performing arts and education organization that celebrates America's own native musical form, with roots in the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans. Supported by Prudential Financial, NOJO is more than just a jazz ensemble, it is a jazz education and presentation organization that harnesses the "universal language" of music and brings together the forces of New Orleans ' unique international reputation to build a new model to proliferate jazz.

The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc. is a non-profit organization operated in the public interest. Contributions to support NOJO's work are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law and can be made online at

*Jennifer Corliss, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc., 214-732-5907*

*Alicia Rodgers Alston, Prudential Financial, Inc., 973-802-4446*

*Jeffrey Norman, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 973-297-5838*

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