Friday, November 25, 2011


"The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth" Returns to the Stage

The superb dance/theater performance of "The Origin of Life on Earth:  An African Creation Myth" is back on stage.  You are invited to join us on Friday, December 16, at 9:30 a.m.; Jefferson Performing Arts Society, East Jefferson High School Auditorium, 400 Phlox Avenue in Metairie.  The artistry and movement will take you to another realm as you start at the beginning of time, and will weave you into a story that brings you to the culture of New Orleans.

Although priced as a field at $5, the family-friendly show is open to everyone.  We'll see you there.


Umoja Committee & Ashé Cultural Arts Center Announce a Pre-Kwanzaa Workshop

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Get Ready New Orleans! The 12th Annual Holiday on the Boulevard is Coming


Happy Thanksgiving

Ashé Cultural Arts Center will be CLOSED Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25, 2011, in observance of the Thanksgiving Holidays.  We will resume regular business activities on Monday, November 28, 2011, at 10:00 a.m.  Have a safe and happy holiday.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Film Screening: We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân


Health Nutz Perform in Crowley


A health fair event
coming to ‘Main Street’
: CROWLEY - A health fair event is coming to Crowley’s Main Street; Parkerson Ave. The event will be held on November 19, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. “A fire prevention talk is on the schedule,” s...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



November 9, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans
Free and Open to the Public

Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (EPNO) is an initiative to engage the city's up-and-coming talent in philanthropy. Young leaders participate in a 6-month program, where they pool funds, collaborate on teams and allocate grants impacting issues they care about.  Since launching a small pilot class of 18 participants in 2009, the group has been expanding at a rapid pace.  The 35 participants in this year's class represent a broad mix of Louisiana natives and newcomers to the city. The third class of the EPNO will award $35,000 in grants to eight local nonprofits working in Education, Arts & Culture, Healthcare and Housing during the ceremony. Refreshments will be provided. Kindly R.S.V.P. by Nov. 2 to   To see a one-minute video about the program, click here:
November 10 and 17, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans
Open to Members of the Place Matters Team

This is a regular meeting of the Place Matters team.  Contact Jamilah Peters-Muhammad at (504) 569-9070 for more information.

November 11, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans
Free and Open to the Public

Golden Voices Community Choir, comprised of strong vocalists from around the city, presents its 43rd Anniversary Musical entitled, "Honoring the Past, Present and Bright Future." Show up and experience some of the best gospel singing you've ever heard. For more information, call Mr. Washington at (504) 915-5715.

November 12, 2011, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1700 Block Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans
Free and Open to the Public

The Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Merchants & Business Association and the Consulada del Ecuador have collaborated to bring you two festivals in one location. Featured artists include: The undisputed professor of gospel music, James Hall; Rev. Lois Dejean and the Johnson Extension, Shades of Praise Gospel Choir, Heavenly Melodies, The Jones Sisters, Kuumba Institute, O. Perry Walker High School Choir, Silhouette Dance Company, Sistahs Making a Change, and many more. The Consulate of Ecuador will feature Afro-Ecuadorian food and demonstrations, and performances by Bamboula 2000, the Mohawk Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, poets, dancers and artists. Janet Andrews will receive a Blue Cross/Blue Shield Award for her work in the arts. For more information or vending opportunities, call (504) 528-1806 or (504) 569-9070.

November 15, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans

More information forthcoming.  Stay tuned to this webpage.

November 15, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard
Free and Open to the Public

Have you heard about the many health benefits of singing? With proper breathing, which gets more oxygen into the blood, the releasing of endorphins can have a similar effect as aerobic exercise. Studies have shown that singing relieves tension and lowers levels of stress, creating a feeling of relaxation. It promotes social interaction, and more. When you concentrate on singing, or on learning a new song, your brain power kicks in, memory is strengthened, and you really don't have time to "worry." So tune up your voice, call a few friends to join you, and come out and sing. No singing experience needed. For more information, call (504) 569-9070.

November 16, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans
Free and Open to the Public

Join this evening of important conversations about the effects of community and domestic violence on children. Fact: Kids who witness violence in our communities or even our homes, are more likely to face deep struggles in life, even if they are not a direct, physical victim. The evening includes dinner, presentations and discussions. Come meet the local and national experts and talk with your neighbors. Featured speaker is Betsy McAlister Groves, Director of the Child Witness to Violence Project at Boston Medical Center.

November 18, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans
Free and Open to the Public

Ashé Cultural Arts Center presents the film We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân, which tells the incredible story of the recent cultural and linguistic revival of the Wampanoag tribe of Southeastern Massachusetts. Their ancestors ensured the survival of the Pilgrims - and lived to regret it. Now they are bringing their language home again. The film is produced and directed by Anne Makepeace. After the film, there will be a talk-back session where the audience can share ideas and opinions.  Panelists to date include Gray Hawk, traditional cultural expert, Native American storyteller, and cultural historian; and Ivan Watkins, BFA, MA, Ph.D. (abd), an internationally recognized artist, filmmaker, and ethnic-historian.  For more information, contact Drena Clay at (504) 569-9070.

November 19, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans

November 21, 2011; Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans
Free and Open to the Public

In January of every New Year, we scurry for the scale to fix what was done at the end of the previous year. Corrective diets and good eating habits are put on hold during the holidays, because in New Orleans, it's all about the food. Let Rachel Reeves, registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild, now working with Common Ground Health Clinic, guide you through the season as they address the topic, "Holiday Eating." Call (504) 569-9070 to RSVP. Reserve your space today.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Ashé Cultural Arts Center will be closed
Thursday and Friday, November 24 and 25, 2011,
in observance of the Thanksgiving holidays

November 29, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans
Free and Open to the Public

"Focus on Success" is a study in educational success. Four New Orleans schools were observed to learn how they were having success with children from primarily high poverty situations. Funded by the Orleans Public Education Network (OPEN), its role is to help educators learn from these examples and help parents to better judge whether or not a school is good enough for their children. This film runs 56 minutes. Call (504) 569-9070 for more information.

Mondays and Thursdays, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
Free and Open to the Public

Come get fit with the "sistahs" as you exercise and dance your way to wellness. 

Regular dance classes are  taught at 6:00 p.m. each Monday and Thursday by Giselle Nakhid.
Featured guest dance instructor for November is Oswald "Oz" Cooper, founder of the Who Dat Steppers of New Orleans.  Come out and learn how to “step.”   Chicago Style Steppin' Classes are Thursdays, 7-8 p.m.  Men are encouraged to attend.

Sistahs Making a Change is directed by Jamilah Peters Muhammad, a registered nurse and professional dancer, who handles all aspects of programming: dance, educational films, nutrition, and health and wellness.  A nutritious meal is served after each class.  Admission is free and open to the public, but donations are accepted.  No dance experience required. For more information, call (504) 569-9070, or just show up ready to move.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Make a Joyful Noise Gospel Festival AND Ecuadorian Festival; November 12, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Ritual Murder - Last Show Free and Open to the Public


Crowley Goes NUTZ For Health

The last two decades have produced study after study that have quantified the increasing morbidity and mortality rates in the African American community from chronic, treatable and avoidable illnesses, such as the unholy trinity of diabetes, hypertension and the attendant heart disease.  Treatable cancers (breast, prostate, colon, lung) are flourishing, as early diagnosis opportunities are lost due to poor or absent preventative health habits.
    It is abundantly clear that the knowledge and the means have been insufficient in efforts to improve the commitment and intention of African Americans to be healthy.
    Ashé Cultural Arts Center has built its work on a philosophy that suggests that all things work better when they are grounded in culture and when creative or art-focused strategies are employed to fuel change and transformation.
    We have a history of making headway in consciousness surrounding illiteracy, dialogue and awareness around race and racism; and improved wellness for elders, women and youth in our various programs.
    Health Nutz is a more focused effort to create cheerleaders for good health who are learning how, why and what must be done to improve the quality of their own lives and health, as well as that of their loved ones.  This ensemble of young actors are everyday Joes and Janes who are learning more about health, struggling to accept the implications of new information, while working to break bad habits and create new ones.  This tension is the heart of the stories that Health Nutz shares with its audiences.
    The ensemble is being created to accommodate various types of venues and audience opportunities.  There is the 45-minute show, the vignette for health fairs, shared billing situations, solo performances and the possibility for commercials.  In all instances, this “art for life” is an engagement tool with the audience, and we use our Nurse “Mama Jamilah” to answer questions, make referrals and hammer home the importance of working to change now. 
  Available for workshops, health and wellness retreats, conferences and health fairs.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 and Friday, November 18, 2011
$2.00 per Student
Contact:  Doll-E-Monroe at (504) 239-0126


Free Screening of "Rejoice and Shout" -- Includes footage of gospel legend Mahalia Jackson

Monday, September 12, 2011


Ashé Announces its Fall 2011 Film Series

Friday, September 9, 2011


Ritual Murder -- Back by Popular Demand

Ritual Murder
Written by Tom Dent
Directed by Chakula cha Jua
Friday, October 7, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 3:00 p.m.
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, New Orleans
October 15, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
Mahalia Jackson Center, 2405 Jackson Avenue, New Orleans
TICKETS: $5 at the door.

(504) 569-9070
Front row (L to R):  Linda M. Merritt, Andrea El-Mansura, Beverly Frank. 
Back row (L to R):  Christopher M. Williams, Jason Mitchell, Ceth R. Watson,
Bobby R. Toomer Jr., Brian Foy Jr., Harold X. Evans.

Ritual Murder, first written in 1968 by author Tom Dent and directed by Chakula cha Jua, is a 45-minute stage play that deals with the agonizing theme of black-on-black violence.

Last summer, Joe Brown Jr., murdered his best friend, James Roberts, for no apparent reason. Why did this murder happen? No one knows. But the people who know Joe Brown Jr. best have ideas.

The story revolves around Joe Brown, Jr., a 19 year old black youth who murders his best friend James Roberts on a Saturday night "for no apparent reason." A narrator is used in the style of a television documentary to interview all the people who knew Joe Brown Jr. well, to determine why this murder happened. By the end of the play the audience learns that there are reasons for the murder--reasons which are "personal and common." Audiences will be astonished to learn the real reasons behind the murder as Ritual Murder examines and analyzes this agonizing problem like it has never been dealt with before.

Ritual Murder was first written by Dent when he was employed by the historic Free Southern Theater as resident playwright. The play never received a production until 1976 when Chakula cha Jua directed it for Ethiopian Theater.

The cast includes Harold X. Evans, Bobby R. Toomer Jr., Jason Mitchell, Andrea El Mansura, Linda L. Merritt, Ceth R. Watson, Brian Foy Jr., Beverly Frank, and Drena Clay (stage manager).

For additional information, call Ashé Cultural Arts Center at (504) 569-9070 or visit the center at 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans.
Sponsors for this production: Chakula cha Jua Theater Company and Ashé Cultural Arts Center


Tom Dent (1932-1998), poet, essayist, oral historian, dramatist and cultural activist, was born in Flint Goodridge Hospital in New Orleans on March 20, 1932.  In the early 1960s, he was a member of New York's legendary Umbra Workshop and won attention in literary circles as the editor of Umbre magazine. In 1965, Dent returned to New Orleans, to become an associate director of the Free Southern Theater. In 1973 he founded the Congo Square Writer's Union which enabled a number of New Orleans writers to develop their talents. Dent's reputation as a poet, essayist, oral historian, and playwright grew rapidly in the 1980s. Dent's poems, reviews, and essays have appeared frequently in such journal as Freedomways, Southern Exposure, Black American Literature Forum, and Calliloo.  His poetry is included in the anthologies Schwarzer Orpheus, New Negro Poets: USA, and New Black Voices. Dent co-edited the book The Free Southern Theater by The Free Southern Theater, (1969) with Gil Moses and Richard Schechner.  His two collections of poetry are Magnolia Street, (privately printed) and Blue Lights and River Songs (Lotus Press). Tom Dent also worked as Executive Director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. In 1996 Dent’s book Southern Journey was published.  The book was his findings resulting from revisiting towns and cities which were major sites of Civil Rights activities in the south.  



New Orleans native Chakula cha Jua is Executive Artistic Director of the Chakula cha Jua Theater Company which he established in 1985.  He has been acting, playwriting and directing for more than thirty years.  He served as a staff member for the historic Free Southern Theater for six years (1971-1976), where he wrote, directed and performed in several memorable productions.  For Ethiopian Theater he first directed Tom Dent’s probing drama Ritual Murder (1978), which his company continues to perform to this day.  He has directed for a wide assortment of theaters, colleges and community organizations, including the ACT One Players, Congo Square Writer’s Union, CAST, Xavier, Dillard and Southern University and his own Chakula cha Jua Theater Company.  As playwright he has written several plays for adults and children including the anti-drug play The Ladder which was published in the literary journal The African American Review (1993).  In 1981 cha Jua became actively involved with the Alliance for Community Theaters, Inc. (ACT I), and served two terms as president of the organization.  It was under his administration the group began the Annual New Orleans Black Theater Festival.  Cha Jua has received several awards and honors through the years including the Alliance for Community Theater’s Best Director (1990), and Best Production (1993).  Awards include The Robert Costley Award (1988), The Mayor’s Arts Award (1991), The Contemporary Arts Center’s Beaux Arts Award, (1992), The Delta Sigma Theta “Artie” Award (1993), The Danny Barker Estate “Keeping The History Alive” Award (2003), and most recently, The Asanta Award (2009).  Currently retired from the Orleans Parish School System, cha Jua continues to work today with adults and children instilling in them a deep appreciation for the performing arts.



Chakula cha Jua Theater Company is New Orleans’ second oldest Black community theater company (after Ethiopian Theater).  The company was formed in 1985 to provide an outlet for local actors, playwrights and directors in the Black Arts community. Its goals are to present the works of African American playwrights as they reflect the experiences of Black people in America and throughout the world. Chakula cha Jua, the company's founder and Artistic Director has been an active participant in the Black Arts Movement for more than thirty years. Under his direction the company has presented a variety of new and exciting works for both adults and children. The company has performed for public libraries, community centers, churches, lounges, prisons and in more than one hundred schools in New Orleans and throughout the Southern Region. The Chakula cha Jua Theater Company was a regular fixture in The Alliance for Community Theaters' Annual New Orleans Black Theater Festival.  The company was bestowed the award for "Best Production" in 1993.  In 1991, Chakula cha Jua Theater Company was one of the few theater groups from the South represented at the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Send all inquires to


Friday, September 2, 2011



Thursday, August 25, 2011


Ashé Team and Friends Invited to Japan after the Tsunami

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