SGI-USA Members in New Orleans, Louisiana, "Come Together" for Music Festival One Year After Hurricane Katrina
One year has passed since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in southern United States and destroyed huge areas of Mississippi, Louisiana, and parts of Alabama. Amidst the arduous road to revitalization and restoration that still continues today, SGI-USA members in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, held a music festival titled "Coming Together to Rebuild for Peace with Never-ending Hope" on July 29, at their New Orleans center. The festival reflected the members' ardent desire to contribute to the reconstruction of their city and a return to normalcy in their community. One hundred invited friends joined 300 local SGI members for the event, the largest gathering of members and guests in recent history. The mini-show in New Orleans--the jazz capital of the U.S.--reflected a colorful variety of music genres. The final number was a powerful cadence by the Jazz Taiko Drum Team. One day following the festival, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, who had been unable to attend due to a prior engagement, sent a citation to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda and Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda "For [their] development of youth dedicated to peace and non-violence and [their] support in the revitalization of New Orleans."
During the past one year, the SGI-USA members in New Orleans, despite being victims themselves, have continued to encourage fellow residents, as well as engage in volunteer activities. The appreciation certificate presented by the city to the Ikedas reflect the local SGI-USA members' strenuous efforts to support and inspire courage in others during a difficult period of reconstruction.