Executive Director, Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp
Jackie Harris began her professional career at a major oil company and then left to pursue creative opportunities in the areas of culture, tourism, music, entertainment and the arts. She wanted to make the world a better place and bring the culture and music of New Orleans to others. This transition has brought her to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the City of New Orleans Music and Entertainment Commission, the New Orleans Jazz Commission and her role in leading the charge that resulted in the first airport in the United States to be named for a jazz artist – the Louis Armstrong International Airport. But it is her current position as the creator and executive director of the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp where she truly shines.
Created 18 years ago, the jazz camp has provided jazz music education to more than 1,700 young students. Started as a one week program for 35 students, the camp has grown into an annual three-week music and dance education experience for more than 100 students, ages 10-21. Instruction is offered in brass, woodwinds, piano, acoustic and electric bass, drums, percussion, guitar, music composition, swing dance and vocal music.
The inspiration came to Jackie in the mid-90s as music and art education was being removed from the public school system. She felt that we must allow our students to learn about jazz in its birthplace and the jazz camp was launched. In addition, she wanted to keep the culture of New Orleans alive while providing students constructive alternatives and opportunities in the summer.
Much like Louis Armstrong himself, Jackie is a lover of people and gives of herself to make the world a better place. Jackie is dedicated to perpetuating, preserving and exposing the world to the art form that was created in her home town of New Orleans. And when looking forward she sees this work continuing as her aspirations, hopes and dreams are all tied to the work she is currently doing. She looks forward to a strong music education program in the public school system because, as she sees it, that is a necessity for generations to come.