On Wednesday of this week we participated in an interesting event. The New Orleans Public Library is starting a literacy campaign, Turn the Page, to make New Orleans the most literate city in the world by 2018. To bring attention to the effort, they organized the world’s largest reading lesson with about 500 kids at the main library. The previous record was 80. My friend and I served as recorders of attendance, along with about ten others, using the Guinness Book of records forms and we also held up a copy of the book being read and turned the pages for the group of kids we were assigned. Below you can see the kids coming in and then Wendell Pierce reading with the musicians participating, as the book is about New Orleans music.
On of my favorite actors, Wendell Pierce, is co-chair of the literacy campaign and he read from a children’s story about New Orleans music. A band of New Orleans music greats (Ellis Marsalis, David Glenn Andrews, Irvin Mayfield, Shannon Powell, and others) played along with him. A number of speakers, including the mayor, first spoke on the value of literacy. All the kids got an autographed copy of the book. The author and illustrator were there and did a lesson on the book. After the lessons some of the musicians did a second line through the crowd of kids.
The kids got also second line handkerchiefs with the literacy campaign signage on it. Wendell Pierce has become very active in a number of New Orleans efforts including new housing in his old neighborhood.