Zion Trinity is Our February AwesomeNOLA Winner for Their Project Spirit of the Orisha

Zion Trinity is Our February AwesomeNOLA Winner for Their Project Spirit of the Orisha

Click the link above to check out a short video about Zion Trinity’s winning project, “Spirit of the Orisha”

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Spirit of the Orisha & Zion Trinity is our February Grant Winner!

Here is the winning application for the month of February!

Spirit of the Orisha Zion Trinity

Spirit of the Orisha
Zion Trinity

A little about me:

We are the Worldbeat/Reggae band Zion Trinity. We are singers and songwriters who have been performing in New Orleans and nationally for the past 17 years. We operate a cultural center on Bayou Rd and we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of our business in February. As a female and Black owned business, we are especially proud of our longevity. We provide free and low cost workshops and we teach Orisha Song classes and generally serve as a knowledge center for sacred African traditions.

Here’s my idea:

We have completed a 2 disc CD entitled “Spirit of the Orisha: Voices of the Diaspora”. This CD set will accompany a book that we have written as a teaching tool for the global community on the sacred music of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa. This book and CD provides the missing link in our cultural preservation of sacred African music. This body of work has global and historical significance in that it has not only never been done before, but it is centered in New Orleans, a leader in the US in preserving African religious and cultural traditions, particularly through the work of Congo Square. The work is a journey into Zion Trinity’s unique style of blending music with Spirit and history. The book will translate and explain the meaning of songs as well as the symbols they contain, including explanations about the Orishas and their attributes. Containing all original artwork, this project will serve as a workbook for a community workshops and trainings. For the past 15 years, we have used these songs to help youth work through emotional and social stress and trauma to gain empowerment over their lives. The project also has songs that aid in rites of passage, such as birthing, funerals and burials.

How I will use the money:

The money awarded to Zion Trinity will be used to produce this powerful body of work that will teach the community about ceremony while preserving ancient spiritual traditions that feed us in mind, body & soul.

1000 double-disk CDs w/ packaging (2000 total disks) = $1950 1000 Lyrics Book, to accompany CDs= $850 Teaching workshop series (Footsteps of the African Diaspora) = $1500-$2000 Weekly Orisha Spirit Song Classes = $250

Take A Professional to School Day: November’s Awesome Grant Winners

Holding their winning check at the Central City Fest

NOLA Black Professionals holding their winning check at the Central City Fest

This month’s Awesome New Orleans grant winners are NOLA Black Professionals for their project:

Take a Professional To School Day

Check out her idea:

After launching Nolablackprofessionals.com, I got the crazy idea to remix Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. So I gather professionals of all races together and we take over a school. It’s not like your normal boring Career Day. We dress like ourselves, we talk to the kids in a relatable manner, we invite a local DJ to provide music during our lunch session and then we allow the kids to ask us questions at the end of the day. I wanted to create something dope that the students would like and appreciate.

NOLA Black Professionals Talk about Take a Professional to School Day

October is Awesome for NOLA Community Media Center!



We were honored to award $1000 to Desiree Evans of the New Orleans Community Media Center.

Check out her award winning application, and then apply here: www.awesomefoundation.org/en/submissions/new

A little about me:

Born and raised in South Louisiana, I have a diverse background in journalism, community advocacy, and non-profit work in the region. During the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to work with numerous organizations in the media and nonprofit sectors, striving to create media that provides a range of information, perspectives and points of view to propel our communities to local and international awareness and informed decision-making. I have learned that the media can be a powerful tool.

Here’s my idea:

I am requesting a grant to fund the first community-media workshop from the New Orleans Center for Community Media. The workshop will take place over the course of four Saturdays. Facilitated by two teaching media artists, and attended by ten community members, the workshop will cover the basics of storytelling and interviewing, and it will include an introduction to multimedia tools. Participants will work in groups to create a short reporting piece covering an issue in their neighborhood.

The Current Context

New Orleans is a city where stories hold power. But not every community has access to the tools that would allow them to communicate their stories in the steadily shifting media landscape. There are still many barriers to media engagement, particularly for low-income communities of color.

The Vision: Storytelling for Transformation

The New Orleans Center for Community Media is a start-up media training and resource center supporting community-based and grassroots media production aimed at elevating the voices of communities across the city. Our work is centered in bringing communication tools to underserved populations, providing these communities with the media production technology and resources to tell, document, and preserve their own stories and the stories of their communities through both traditional and emerging media platforms. Using a multi-pronged approach steeped in media literacy, media training, media justice, and the media arts, we work with and within communities to use media as a tool for advancing community voice and social justice.

My vision for this media center is rooted in work I have done over the years in community media. In Chicago I taught urban youth journalism in the housing projects. In Oakland I worked with youth of color on digital storytelling projects. In New Orleans I seek to create similar spaces to house projects and trainings that nurture civic engagement, community building, and media-based strategies for change.

How I will use the money:


Space Rental (4 Saturdays @ $50.00/day): $200 Small Flip Video Camcorders (5 used @ $50.00/each): $250 Video Projector: $120 Voice Recorders (5 at $9.95/each): $49.75 Course Booklet Photocopies (12 booklets @ $6.00/copy): $72 Sticky 20″ x 23″ Easel Butcher Paper: $27.99 Markers (2 packs @ $3.99/each): $7.98 Pocket Folders (2 packs of 10 @ $4.29/each): $8.58 Legal Pads (3 packs of 4 @ $2.99/each): $8.97 Pens (2 packs @ $2.19/each): $4.38 Food (lunch will be provided): $250 Total: $999.65


Awesome Community Hours

Each month, Awesome New Orleans goes out into a different part of New Orleans to spread more AWESOME. We present the check to that month’s winner, share info and invite people to get involved with Awesome New Orleans, AND talk with interested potential applicants one-on-one about their awesome ideas!!

July Awesome Hours was held at Casa Borrega, a great new restaurant on O.C. Haley with delicious authentic Mexican food and a colorful, ecclectic, comfortable ambience. Our July winner was Voice Of The Ex-Offender for their awesome project, Campaign To End Employment Discrimination. Gahiji Barrow, V.O.T.E.’s Program Assistant, accepted the check and shared a bit about the project. Check it out!

Video is courtesy of Awesome New Orleans trustee, Ada McMahon

July Awesome winner, Voice Of The Ex-Offender (www.vote-nola.org), for their Campaign To End Employment Discrimination. Gahiji Barrow accepted the check on behalf of VOTE. We're happy to support this AWESOME idea!

July Awesome winner, Voice Of The Ex-Offender (www.vote-nola.org), for their Campaign To End Employment Discrimination. Gahiji Barrow accepted the check on behalf of VOTE. We’re happy to support this AWESOME idea!

Awesome Hours – June 15 @ Community Books!


Come to Awesome Community Hours this Sat (6/15) at Community Book Center on Bayou Road.

Meet June’s grant recipient – Conexiones! And talk to Awesome NOLA trustees about how YOU can receive a $1000 grant for your awesome project!!

Awesome Hours June15

Awesome New Orleans Launch Party: March 14th

The New Orleans chapter of the Awesome Foundation has officially launched!

Please join us for the launch of the Awesome Foundation New Orleans from 6-8p.m. at Propeller on Thursday March 14th.
We’ll have food, drinks, live music and a presentation at 7 about what Awesome is and how you can get involved.


We are now also accepting project proposals and encouraging you to sign up for Awesome Tax – a way for you to pledge a small amount of money each month to help bring these projects to life!

Questions? Email us at neworleans@awesomefoundation.org