It was registration week at the University of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. Calvin Johnson had not yet attended his first class, but had moved half his stuff into his new dorm room, leaving the other half in his parent’s house. The storm flooded his family’s home with over 12 feet of water, destroying everything – including his beloved saxophone. His dorm was not flooded but looted.
Johnson, who comes from a family of New Orleans musicians, became a nomad, traveling across the country from place to place. When he returned to New Orleans, he found it nearly impossible to find affordable housing.
Then he heard about Habitat for Humanity, a charity that was building homes in New Orleans East in a development called “Musicians Village” to house displaced performers. Johnson is now one of the 80 residents who live in the six-block Village. The project was largely funded by a $4 million gift from the Qatar Katrina Fund.