Rodrigue Foundation and Trombone Shorty Foundation Songwriting Contest

We’re excited to partner again with George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts on the 2022 Scholarship Art and Songwriting Contest! The theme for the contest is “Louisiana’s Culinary Heritage.” Celebrity judges will choose winners using carefully curated criteria. Three winners will split $6000 in scholarship prize money, along with additional professional development opportunities for the contest winners.

This year, Louisiana high school juniors and seniors are invited to create a work of art or song based on the theme “Louisiana’s Culinary Heritage,” representing our state’s unique culinary heritage while honoring its festivals, dishes and local ingredients. 

For artist George Rodrigue the culinary heritage of Louisiana was a recurring theme throughout his career. He painted portraits of Chefs, both well-known and obscure, as well as documented unique Cajun culinary traditions such as the Aioli Dinner (1971) and The Great Cajun Omelet (1984). He also owned several beloved restaurants throughout his life, and produced several successful cookbooks including The Pot and the Palette Cookbook. The Pot and the Palette Cookbook is an award-winning cookbook, and was first published in 2013, featuring art from our 2013 Annual Scholarship Art Contest.

To read more about this competition or review finalists’ work from last year, visit the George Rodrigue Foundation website. The deadline for entries was Friday, February 4.

Information on celebrity judges is below… more to be added soon!

Trombone Shorty

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is a musician, producer, actor and philanthropist from New Orleans, Louisiana. He was born into a well-known New Orleans musical family in 1986. His grandfather, Jessie Hill, was a locally popular R&B recording artist. His older brother, James “12” Andrews, was a successful jazz trumpeter who was also an early mentor. Andrews began playing music at a very early age and was playing professionally at the age of five. He mastered trombone, trumpet, and drums, eventually choosing the trombone as his principal instrument and thus picking up his nickname. Andrews became a student at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts’ (NOCCA). In 2003 he was one of five young musicians chosen as the subject for a PBS television documentary, and also performed on the network’s nationally broadcast tribute to Louis Armstrong, directed by Wynton Marsalis. Since 2009, Andrews has toured the country and the globe with his own band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. He’s appeared with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and shared a stage with internationally touring artists like Lenny Kravitz, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Rolling Stones, U2, and many others.

Aaron Wilkinson (Honey Island Swamp Band)

Born into a musical family, Wilkinson picked up guitar from his father at age ten. Inspired by everything from the Beatles to Hendrix to heavy metal, he took an early interest in songwriting, and lead a succession of original bands as a youngster in Pensacola, FL.  A passing interest in the electric bass became a full time profession when he moved to New Orleans at age 22 and co-founded the band idletime, which went on to sign with Louisiana Red Hot Records. Several years of touring and work as a bassist with New Orleans artists, including Theresa Andersson and Irene Sage, led Wilkinson to his continuing role as bassist for Eric Lindell and Company. Marooned in San Francisco in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Wilkinson began swapping songs with Chirs Mulé, an old friend and the guitarist for the Eric Lindell Band. Reflecting a blossoming interest in classic country music and a firm foundation in delta blues, the songs provided an ideal opportunity for Wilkinson to showcase his developing skills as a mandolin player and vocalist, as well as a songwriter. Within weeks the two had a weekly gig at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room, and the Honey Island Swamp Band was born.

Marc Broussard

The son of Boogie Kings guitarist (and Louisiana Hall of Fame member) Ted Broussard, singer/songwriter Marc Broussard was seemingly destined for a life as a music man. His upbringing in Lafayette, Louisiana instilled in him an affinity for R&B alongside the Cajun trappings of southern Louisiana. Drawing vocal and stylistic influence from Otis Redding and Brian McKnight while bearing the preternaturally gruff vocals of John Hiatt and Dr. John, Broussard was barely 20 at the time of his first album’s release. Soon afterwards, the young musician inked a deal with Island Def Jam and has been touring and performing regularly since. Marc has opened and shared stages not only with Maroon 5 and the Dave Matthews Band, but also with Willie Nelson, O.A.R., and Bonnie Raitt. 

Big Chief Juan Pardo

Big Chief Juan Pardo and the Golden Comanche Mardi Gras Indians is an electrifying display of a culture that dates back over two hundred years in New Orleans. Chief Juans soulful voice brings any audience to feel like they are in the jazz filled streets of New Orleans. This percussion-heavy tribal music infused by the funk styles of the Meters, Willie T, and the Neville Brothers can only be performed by those who are chosen. The Chief and his Golden Comanches have studied the traditions of those before them and now are the keepers of the flame. Juan not only performs the music of this tradition but also writes and produces music that has become staples among tribes in New Orleans. Chief Juan has recorded and performed with many bands such as Galactic, 101 Runners, and Rhythm Conspiracy. He has graced the stage with names like Pattie Labell, Cryil Neville, Anders Osborne, Trombone Shorty, and Doctor John, to name a few. Chief Juan and the Comanche travel the world to bring the tribal and funk sound of New Orleans Culture to people everywhere.

Mikayla Braun

Over the past decade Mikayla Braun has become embedded in the New Orleans music community, performing with over a dozen local bands and bringing her original music from the streets of the French Quarter to the NO Jazz & Heritage Festival. Her genre bending style reflects the fusion of jazz, funk, folk, and soul she’s experienced around every corner of the city, and her velvety-rich voice creates an atmosphere of warmth for her listeners wherever she performs. She is currently in the studio working on her upcoming album and is thrilled to be bringing her band to the New Orleans festivals this spring.

Hans Williams

Hans Williams is a 21-year-old independent singer-songwriter from Norwich, Vermont. First releasing music in third grade when he would hand out CDs after school, Hans fell in love with songwriting as a means of expression. After uploading a couple of songs on Spotify in high school, Hans quickly amassed over a million streams before graduating. In 2020, Hans debuted “Body on My Shoulders,” reflecting on his experience as a first responder to a floormate’s suicide in the first few days of freshmen year at Tulane University, which has since become a mutually therapeutic anthem for Williams, the Tulane community, and beyond. Currently a Junior studying Marketing and Music Science & Technology at Tulane, Williams continues to grow his fanbase around the historic local New Orleans scene. With recent performances at New York’s Mercury Lounge and New Orleans Tipitina’s, Hanslooks to continue performing across the U.S. and consistently release new music in 2022.

Maggie Koerner

New Orleans based singer/songwriter Maggie Koerner writes songs you cannot put in a box. Her sound is a hybrid of genres; folk meets pop coated in alt rock. “Imagine if Tina Turner and Cat Power had a daughter and she was backed by Radiohead,” she tries to explain. Koerner’s powerhouse vocals have always set her apart from her peers – a raw talent that shines in any style, only surpassed by her ability to write deeply personal and eloquent lyrics. In 2010, Maggie caught the attention of Brady Blade (drummer to Emmylou Harris, Dave Matthews Band; brother of Brian Blade) who signed on to produce her debut album, Quarter Life (2011). Shortly after the release and on the advice of fellow musician David Shaw (The Revivalists), she moved to New Orleans and began a journey no one could predict. Itdidn’t take Koerner long to write another album she would record and produce herself, Neutral Ground (2013). It was around this time that she had the opportunity to take over as the frontwoman for Galactic, gaining international attention for her fiery performances and commanding presence touring alongside Widespread Panic, Charles Bradley and Dr. John. Her influence is heavily featured on their albums Carnivale Electricos (2012) and Into The Deep (2015), both of which feature singles she co-wrote with Shaw, “Hey Na Na” and “Dolla Diva.” In 2015, Koerner left Galactic to focus on her music again which led to a string of festival performances including New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Austin City Limits, Pemberton Music Festival as well as tours alongside The Revivalists, Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule & The Ballroom Thieves.

George Wilde

George Wilde is an educator, writer, musician, and songwriter whose work spans the multitude of genres and communities within New Orleans. Hailing from Chicago but at home in the city since 2010, he is a regular performer at clubs and venues on guitar and electric bass, whether presenting original music or paying tribute to the lineage of musicians who came before. As the Programs Manager at Trombone Shorty Foundation, he facilitates mentorship and growth among young creators while preparing them for careers in the music industry and beyond. Also an avid gardener, he grows fruits, vegetables, and chickens on a small lot at his home in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward.

Ashley Shabankareh

Ashley Shabankareh (she/they) is a musician, music educator, and arts administrator. She received her M.M. and B.M.E. from Loyola University, New Orleans. Ashley previously served as the Director of Programs for Preservation Hall Foundation, and they have supported the work of numerous arts education and arts service organizations including Artist Corps New Orleans, Upbeat Academy, and the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Today, Ashley serves as the Director of Operations and Programs for Trombone Shorty Foundation and teachings classes on therapeutic songwriting at Loyola University, New Orleans. In her spare time, Ashley performs as both a trombonist and vocalist, and has performed alongside Aretha Franklin, Allen Toussaint, Jimmy Buffett, Theresa Andersson, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and in her own projects, Marina Orchestra and the Asylum Chorus.

Lindsey Candler

Lindsey Candler is a recent Tulane Grad. She has been a musician and an avid fan of music since she can remember, started songwriting at the age of 5, and recently participated in projects such as g!rlband, and her own Lindsey Candler band. Her favorite instruments to play are guitar and drums, and song writing is one of her biggest passions.