Folk singer Arlo Guthrie rolled into town on "the train they call the City of New Orleans," to perform a pair of shows to benefit musicians left without instruments and gigs after their city was battered by Hurricane Katrina. Guthrie has been performing for two weeks at stops along the train's route with other musicians. He started in Illinois, stopped in Memphis and is ending with two shows in New Orleans.
"I didn't know how much anyone could do," Guthrie said. "We're just going to see if we can make a little dent in what's going on." Guthrie, who made the late Steve Goodman's song "City of New Orleans" a hit in 1972, has said the idea for the tour came while watching television coverage of the hurricane's aftermath, and seeing that Amtrak resumed its service to the devastated city.
Goodman's song was based on a train operated by Illinois Central before the creation of Amtrak. The name was discontinued the year before Guthrie made the song a hit, but Amtrak christened an overnight train that runs much of the same route with the City of New Orleans name in 1981. The Arlo Guthrie & Friends benefit tour is raising money for musicians and venues suffering since Hurricane Katrina and levee breaks left much of New Orleans under water more than three months ago.
The money raised and the equipment being donated will be distributed to performers, churches and schools with music programs. Guthrie's publicist didn't immediately know how much the tour had raised. Guthrie's tour is one of several efforts to help New Orleans' musicians. Singer Harry Connick Jr. and saxophone player Branford Marsalis are working with Habitat for Humanity to create a "village" for musicians who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina, reports the AP. N.U.