Today, I had the unique opportunity to attend the topping off ceremony for the Ellis Marsalis Music Center in the Musicians’ Village. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Musicians’ Village, it is the brainchild of New Orleans natives Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis. Designed to offer impoverished New Orleans musicians a place to live, eat, and play, the Musicians’ Village is located in the upper ninth ward, an area that suffered massive amounts of flooding during Katrina. Although not yet fully completed, I believe that even the proposed idea of such a place in the United States is a vast step forward in the treatment of our musicians. For years, we have treated our musicians as a “lower” class; enjoying the fruits of their labor, screwing them out of their copyrights, and leaving many destitute and forced to live on the streets. I think its about time we got our act together. The United States has fallen drastically behind countries like France, Spain, and Brazil; all of whom have a Minister of Culture, a cabinet position responsible for protecting the natural heritage of a country and for promoting cultural expression.