Photo by ERIC SIMON - Landry-Walker High School Brass Band performs at the Class Got Brass competition in 2015.

The Landry-Walker High School Brass Band took top honors and $10,000 worth of instruments in the fourth annual Class Got Brass competition held March 22 in Armstrong Park. St. Augustine High School took second place and $6,000, and Edna Karr High School took third place and $4,000.

Landry-Walker was one of 16 competitors in the event, which was sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and coincided with the foundation’s Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival.

It was Landry-Walker’s second appearance among the top winners. The school took second place in 2014. It was the fourth time band director Wilbert Rawlins had a group claim some of the top prize money. Rawlins previously was at O. Perry Walker High School, which took second place in the inaugural Class Got Brass in 2012 and first place in 2013.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation created the Class Got Brass contest in 2012 to promote music education in the school system along with New Orleans’ cultural traditions.

While many schools had marching bands — which often provide early training for brass band musicians — very few offered traditional New Orleans-style brass bands.

In addition to prizes for first, second and third place in both categories, the Jazz & Heritage Foundation also provides stipends of $750 for each of the schools that participated.

The complete results are:


First place: Medard H. Nelson Charter School, $4,000 (band director: Johnnie VanBuren)

Second place: Martin Behrman Charter Academy, $3,000 (band director: Birdell Mitchell)

Third place: Park Forest Middle School, $2,000 (band director: Doretha Williams).


First place: Landry-Walker High School, $10,000 (band director: Wilber Rawlins)

Second place: St. Augustine High School, $6,000 (band director: Eddie Williams)

Third place: Edna Karr High School, $4,000 (band director: Chris Herrero).

The other participating schools were:


  • Eisenhower Academy of Global Studies (band director: Edwin F. Harrison, Jr.)
  • Fannie C. Williams Charter School (band director: Dedrick Jones)

    Ridgewood Prep (band director: Shari Meyer)

    St. Mary’s Dominican High School (band director: Brenda Castillo)

    Worley Middle School (band director: Kalen Mitchell).


  • KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School (band director: Kelvin Harrison)
  • McDonogh 35 High School (band director: Lawrence Rawlins)
  • McKinley Senior High School (band director: Frank Williams)
  • New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (band director: Michael Pellera)
  • St. Paul’s School (band director: Andrew Moran).

The 2015 Class Got Brass judges were: Ben Jaffe, Preservation Hall; Brice Miller, musician; Christie Jourdain, Pinettes Brass Band; Gerard Howard,; Gregg Stafford, musician; Gregory Davis, Dirty Dozen Brass Band; Kerry Brown, musician; Mark Braud, Preservation Hall; and Shamarr Allen, musician.