Healthy Culture: NOMC Fights Chronic Illness in Artist Community

“I started playing piano when I was four, and I still can’t play the piano,” jokes Roselyn Lionheart. “We came to New Orleans primarily for the music.” Make no mistake, the woman is musically talented. Roselyn Lionheart and her husband, David Leonard have been playing music in the streets for over fifty years, forty of them in New Orleans. This year they played at Jazz Fest for the thirtieth time. These days they play indoor gigs, festivals and fairs more often, but they still spend time every week on Royal Street. They are part of the community of artists and musicians that make New Orleans a special place to live and visit.

For the past fifteen years, David and Roselyn have been patients at the New Orleans Musicians Clinic (NOMC). “The interesting thing is we are veterans so we are partially covered by the VA, but the VA doesn’t cover glasses, it doesn’t cover teeth,” says Lionheart. There are 2,400 individuals like David and Roselyn who depend on the clinic for some kind of health care. The New Orleans Musicians Clinic focuses on education and prevention with emphasis on lifestyle and services are not solely for musicians. “You don’t have to be a big name musician or celebrity, we pride ourselves on trying to provide health care to all cultural contributors who need health care,” says Felice Guimont, RN. Visual artists, actors even bartenders can obtain health care. “Our musicians and culture contributors are part of the whole healing paradigm,” says Guimont. Roselyn Lionheart agrees “Music is life, it really is, music heals you, music helps you, music makes you happy, music can take your sadness.”

The musicians clinic would not be able to function without the generosity of the community, the non-profit organization relies on donations, grants and fundraisers to stay financially afloat. It is because of their work that artists like Roselyn and David are able to share their music with the world.

For more information on the New Orleans Musicians Clinic visit www.neworleansmusiciansclinic.org

For more information on David and Roselyn visit www.davidandroselyn.net