The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, the centerpiece of the Musicians' Village, is a 17,000 square foot facility that serves as a performance, education and community venue. The Center includes a 170-seat performance hall, recording studios and teaching facilities for individual and group instruction, and a gathering place for the community. From music to dance, theatre to film, the goal of the Center is to harness the exceptional talents of the residents and students in the surrounding Musicians' Village in a collective effort that will provide an invaluable resource to New Orleans.
After the shocking devastation of Hurricane Katrina, native sons, Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr., along with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, conceived the New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village. The core idea behind the Village, located in the Upper Ninth Ward in New Orleans, is the establishment of a community for the city's several generations of musicians and other families, many of whom had lived in inadequate housing prior to the catastrophe and remain displaced in its aftermath. Over 70,000 volunteers have helped to construct the 72 single family homes, 10 elder-friendly apartments and toddler park that have been built in the Village.