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Unique piano may steal show at Instruments A Comin’ benefit

The Louisiana Legneds Art Piano is covered in Mardi Gras beads, its keys signed by New Orleans musicians.

Like the city it represents, the Louisiana Legends Art Piano has undergone a transformation, from damaged and forgotten relic into an arresting piece of art.

The piano, salvaged from a school after Hurricane Katrina, sat languishing for years in a storage unit on the property of the Tipitina’s Foundation offices.

“We’d been trying to come up with new ways to raise funds,” said Tiffany Napper, a publicist for the event, “so I thought why don’t we get the keys signed and make a gigantic piece of art out of it.”

It wasn’t long before the piano’s 88 keys had been signed by Louisiana music luminaries such as Fats Domino, Dr. John, Kermit Ruffins, Trumbone Shorty. World-renowned artist Stephan Wanger volunteered his skill and covered the piano with a beautifully intricate mosaic of recycled Mardi Gras beads.

A piano key signed by Trombone Shorty

The Louisiana Legends Art Piano is the centerpiece of this year’s Instruments A Comin’, Tipitina’s Foundation’s benefit concert and silent auction. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. Monday, April 30, at Tipitina’s Uptown with a silent auction – featuring the Legends piano — as well as a battle of marching bands and induction ceremonies into the Foundation’s Walk of Fame and Wall of Fame.

The party moves inside at 8 with a concert featuring performances by Galactic, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave., BIGI, Honey Island Swamp Band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Anders Osborne, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Glen David Andrews, Donald Harrison and The T.I.P. Interns, plus many more.

Every dollar raised by Instruments A Comin’ goes to purchasing musical instruments for New Orleans area schools and after-school programs. Tipitina’s Foundation has purchased more than $2.5 million worth of instruments for more than 4,000 students in more than 75 schools and programs since IAC’s inception 11 years ago.

To bid on the Louisiana Legends Art Piano, go to at or purchase tickets (VIP and General Admission) to IAC at For more information, call the Tipitina’s Foundation office at 504.309.7934.

Writer and filmmaker Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.


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