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‘Cut & Paste’ podcast: STL composer recalls Katrina and the day the music almost died

As Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans 10 years ago, St. Louis composer Fred Onovwerosuoke hurried to the attic with cardboard boxes.

But it turned out, upstairs would be the worst place to store them. Shortly after he and his wife and two small sons drove away from their temporary New Orleans home, Katrina tore away the roof, exposing reams of musicals manuscripts to the pounding rain.

But not all was lost. This Sunday, an event called “Music Saved from the Storm,” presented by Onovwerosuoke’s African Musical Arts organization, will include some of the rescued work (details below).

Here’s a bit of what you’ll hear in the podcast:

  • How Fredo responds to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina: "I’ve tried to fill the void of that sadness, that agony, with a lot of joy."  Tweet #cutandpastestl
  • On his collection of African Music manuscripts finding an audience and publication after the storm: "So there was tragedy but I rose, gratefully I rose from that ashes."  Tweet #cutandpastestl
  • Fredo describes the specific damage that occurred in his house: "All that water just dumped in the attic first, before flooding the house, it was a mess."     Tweet #cutandpastestl

“Music Saved from the Storm” is one of several local arts events commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Information about two art exhibitions and the concert follows this image:

An image by Marilyn L. Robinson in the "Ten Years After Katrina" art exhibition at Vaughn Center
Credit Provided by Freida Wheaton
An image by Marilyn L. Robinson in the "Ten Years After Katrina" art exhibition at Vaughn Center

‘Ten Years After Katrina: Remembering Like it Was Yesterday’

Featuring paintings by New Orleans native, St. Louisan Robert Ketchens; photographs by Marilyn L. Robinson; poetry by Freida L. Wheaton; and illustrations by Joy L. Wade

Where: Vaughn Cultural Center, Urban League St. Louis, 3701 Grandel Square, 63108

When: Now open. Artists’ talk 5-8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 4; runs through Sept. 30

How much: Free

Information: Regional Arts Commission website

An image from the "VESTIGES" art exhibition at the Reese Gallery
Credit Provided by the Reese Gallery
An image from the "VESTIGES" art exhibition at the Reese Gallery

“The VESTIGES Project: Marking Memories, 2005-2015” art show

Featuring the work of Jan Gilbert and Debra Howell, before, during and since Hurricane Katrina

Where: Ruth Reese Gallery, 3410 Wisconsin Ave., 63118 www.thereesegallery.com

When: Opening reception 6-9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 28; runs through Sept. 30

How much: Free

Information: Reese Gallery website


‘Music Saved from the Storm’

Where: Trinity Presbyterian Church, 6800 Washington Ave., 63130

When: 3-4:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 30

How much: $15

Information: African Musical Arts website

Tickets: Eventbrite website

Cut & Paste

Look for new "Cut & Paste" (#cutpastestl) podcasts every few weeks on our website. You can also view all previous podcasts, which focus on a diverse collection of visual and performing artists, and subscribe to “Cut & Paste” through this link.

Follow Willis and Nancy on Twitter: @WillisRArnold and @NancyFowlerSTL

Please help St. Louis Public Radio find artists to feature on "Cut & Paste." Tell us which artists deserve a closer look.

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.