Ella Project receives NEA funding for 2019.

The Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts has approved The Ella Project for a grant in the amount of $30,000 in their latest round of ArtWorks funding. Ella Project is proud to be one of 17 arts organizations in Louisiana to receive this funding. We look forward to working with the Arts Endowment to further the reach of our pro bono legal services and workshops for artists to ensure they are maximizing their efforts to get their work protected and out into the public sphere. Thank you to the Arts Endowment and all of the supporters of The Ella Project who ensure that all artists of Louisiana, regardless of their ability to pay, have access to high quality legal and business services to advance and control their artistic content.

Join in and support The Ella Project today!

EIFFEL Gras Saturday March 2nd to benefit The Ella Project

Visit The Eiffel Society at 2040 St Charles Ave on Saturday, March 2nd for Iris and Tucks and help support The Ella Project.  They are presenting a family friendly lounge environment for the parades!

$10 gets you unlimited access to Eiffel that day for restrooms, drink specials, and food and drink available for purchase. Family Friendly! Under 21 okay if accompanied by an adult. A portion of all proceeds will benefit The Ella Project!

Buy your tickets ahead of time here. All these nonprofits are great, but to ensure you’re supporting The Ella Project, toggle to Saturday, March 2nd.


Music Business Intensive Spring workshop series.

The Music Business Intensive series is a 7-week program designed to educate musicians on the essential topics that form the foundation of the modern music industry, in order to empower artists to control their own work and make smart decisions to grow their careers. Building from an introductory “basics” class that covers the essentials of what a copyright is, what rights are included, and how revenue can be generated from copyrights, the advanced series will dive deeper into the complex world of record labels, publishing companies, and online streaming. The series will also include information on the legal and business issues that artists will face while navigating the changing music industry as an independent entity. Organized by Ella Project volunteers and local entertainment attorneys Max Hass and Bri Whetstone and supported with funding from the Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans, The Intensive features presentations from industry professionals, small discussion, and networking opportunities with others involved in the music industry.

Participants can subscribe to the entire series. 

Just interested in one workshop? Scroll down the  schedule and  find your ticket link for individual events.

All workshops are on Tuesdays from 2:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon, and are held on the Second floor of Gulf Coast Bank, 3200 Magazine St in New Orleans.


Tuesday, March 12th Copyright & Contract Basics What is a copyright, what rights are included, how artists can use contracts to protect important copyright rights. FREE, but please RSVP to gene@ellanola.org

Tuesday, March 19 Publishing Musical compositions and “publishing” rights & revenue streams; working with publishing companies. $20 or part of season pass. To register, please click here. 

Tuesday, March 26th Masters Sound recordings and “master” rights & revenue streams; working with record labels. $20 or part of season pass. To register, please click here. 

Tuesday, April 2nd Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) and Online Streaming
What do ASCAP and BMI do for artists? We also break down all of the different types of royalties related to online streaming. $20 or part of season pass. To register, please click here. 

Tuesday, April 9th Putting it all together with Contracts: The Paperwork Side of records.  We walk through all of the contracts and other paperwork essential for an independent recording project. $20 or part of season pass. To register, please click here. 

Tuesday, April 16th. Running Your Band / Music Project Like a Business LLCs and band agreements, trademarks, marketing, and discussing managers and booking agents. $20 or part of season pass. To register, please click here. 

Tuesday, April 23rd. Releasing, Pitching, and Monetizing Your Music Planning and timing the release, pitching to labels and publishers, finding ways to monetize independently (licensing, fundraising, etc.) $20 or part of season pass. To register, please click here. 

This workshop is supported with funding from the Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans. Special thanks to Gulf  Coast Bank to hosting! 


Copyright & Contracts for Filmmakers Workshop on February 5th

Presented by  Max Hass and Bri Whetstone

Tuesday, February 5th 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Launch Pad, 400 Poydras, Suite 900

We’re excited to launch our new workshop series on Copyright and Contracts. Supported by a grant from the Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans, this series launches by addressing copyright and contract topics relevant to filmmakers and will cover a range of legal and business topics for artists developing their careers. This workshop will be an introduction to copyright issues, including an explanation of what copyrights are, information on registering copyrights, issues related to collaborations and commissions, an overview of work for hire agreements and other contracts commonly encountered by filmmakers and producers, and more!

NOTE: This workshop is an overview of certain areas of law concerning copyright and contract, and is intended for educational purposes only. The workshop will not provide legal advice. The Ella Project will be onsite to sign up qualified clients seeking pro bono assistance. 


Licensing Music to Film & TV Workshop January 23rd

Sync Up Workshop:
Step One: Make Sure Your Copyrights are Registered
Wednesday, Jan. 23
5:30 p.m. at the Jazz & Heritage Center

Free, but Advance registration required.

The Ella Project is excited to  participate in this upcoming workshop,  a collaboration between the New Orleans Business Alliance and the Jazz & Heritage Foundation – which we see as the first step in a multi-phase effort to help more local artists get their music into film and TV productions.

The workshop features an interview with bounce rap star Big Freedia and her manager, Reid Martin of Midcitizen Entertainment, focusing on making a profitable business from a career as a musician – including licensing music to film and TV productions.

There also will be a panel discussion that explains the proper steps for registering copyrights for music, along with an overview of how best to approach film and TV productions for licensing music to them. Panelists include Robin Burgess, manager of Terence Blanchard and Quiana Lynell; film composer Jay Weigel; entertainment attorney Tim Kappel; and Victoria Adams Phipps of the New Orleans Business Alliance.

Those who attend can sign up for free assistance sessions with The Ella Project. In these sessions, attorneys will help musicians and songwriters not only organize their catalogs, but also take the necessary steps to register their copyrights.

In addition, the first 50 artists who register for the Jan. 23 workshop and attend complete an ELLA Project assistance session will earn a grant from the New Orleans Business Alliance to substantially offset the fees for registering copyrights.

Where Are They Now? Ella Project alum Dorian Slater Thomas

Dorian Slater Thomas Frankfurt Kurnit Klein Selz

Dorian Slater Thomas

Since our launch in 2004, The Ella Project has worked with over 400 Tulane law students who have volunteered their time with us. One of our favorite things is to see what our former student volunteers are up to. One of our favorite volunteers is Dorian Slater Thomas. Dorian worked with Ella in 2013. Currently, Dorian is an associate attorney with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC in New York City, where he is a member of the advertising group. We recently had a chance to catch up with Dorian, and here’s what he had to say about his time at The Ella Project, the importance of Pro Bono, and why these services are so important.

Ella: What are some of the people you helped, issues you worked on that stick out from your time with Ella?

Dorian: I recall reviewing various recording agreements for local artists in New Orleans. I also recall a local artist coming into the ELLA office to drop off his new album, which Ashlye had advised him on. I got the impression that this was a frequent occurrence at ELLA. That is, an artist coming in to genuinely express their gratitude for the assistance they had received. And having an impromptu album listening party.

Ella: What are you doing now?

Dorian: I’m an associate attorney at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, a firm that specializes in serving the entertainment and advertising industries. I’m a member of the advertising group, representing agencies and brands handling their advertising needs. We do everything from reviewing scripts, copy, and spots to drafting master services agreements between advertising agencies and their clients. Among other things, I negotiate talent and influencer agreements for such agencies and brands.

Ella: Are there ways your work with Ella has benefited your current career?

Dorian: ELLA taught me the importance of the personal connection between a client and an attorney. I think this is especially important when servicing clients in the creative field. When servicing clients today, I strive to nurture a genuine personal connection.

Ella: Are you involved with other pro bono organizations right now as an attorney?

Dorian: I am involved with several pro bono organizations, particularly organizations that focus on representing diverse individuals. I also believe in the importance of translating the ethos of pro bono service into my non-professional life. That is, I believe in supporting the causes in which I believe, and the people who inspire me, at the ground level. I encourage other attorneys to do so as well. Go to the premiere of that indie film. Buy the album on the merch table after the concert in the park. Take the train to Bushwick to see that new performance piece. Go to the after party.

Ella: Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?

Dorian: I do (thanks Louis Armstrong). Thankfully, New Orleans is a city of ghosts; ghosts who are there waiting to welcome you back.

Dorian continues to Support The Ella Project through his membership in Attorneys For Ella. If you similarly value your time at The Ella Project, believe in Pro Bono, or just want to support our efforts, please join today. 




Fall legal clinics in full swing

Ella offers all day free legal clinics by appointment every Friday overseen by Co-Founder Ashlye Keaton with support from Tulane Law School. We’re thrilled to have twelve new interns joining us this term. Through this clinic, Ella serves 175 pro bono clients a year from across Louisiana. Do you need pro bono legal assistance? Fill out our online  application here. 

Ella Project curating Music Policy Forum Summit in Washington DC

mpfWe’re excited to be in the nation’s capitol October 26-27th for the Music Policy Forum Summit. This event brings together several hundred musicians, researchers, policymakers, industry and nonprofit leaders, and other stakeholders into a wide-ranging exploration of some of the most promising and exciting thought leadership in the music and policy space.This year’s theme is “The Future is…” and The Ella Project is curating the agenda, presenting on local engagement and cultural heritage, and along with the New Orleans Jazz Museum, co-hosting a discussion on Cultural Tourism and Institutions. Hope those in the DC area can join us!

Visual Artist Boot Camp returns in November

The Visual Artist Business Boot Camps are back! We’ll be in Ruston, LA on November 3rd and 4th, hosted by the North Central Louisiana  Arts Council. This two day program is for advancing visual artists and addresses topics including:

  • Pricing and how art is sold.
  • Marketing materials for the visual artist.
  • Creating artist statements, bios, and resumes.
  • Working with galleries, festivals, and public art.
  • Copyright and Trademark.
  • Effective use of social media.
  • Developing a career plan for success.

This workshop uses a combination of presentation and small group work to cover a broad array of topics in a short time. With support from the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development and the National Endowment for the Arts, The Ella Project has toured this program to nine regions of Louisiana in 2018, and the Ruston event will bring this year’s tour to a close. Interested in bringing the boot camp to your community in 2019? Email us at gene@ellanola.org. 

TO RSVP for the November 3-4 session in Ruston, please click here. 

Ella Project working with South Arts on jazz touring program.

The Ella Project has bsoutharts.pngeen hired by South Arts, a regional organization based in Atlanta that builds on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts, to facilitate six upcoming, invitation-only national focus group meetings to assess the current jazz touring environment,  and how to build careers for lesser-known artists located throughout the country’s more rural and underserved areas.  These sessions will be instrumental in designing the launch of Jazz Road, a forthcoming initiative funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Jazz Road will be led by South Arts in partnership with the five other U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (Arts Midwest, Mid America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Western Arts Alliance/WESTAF). Follow us on Instagram as we document these conversations taking place across the U.S. in next two months.