By Sue Harrison
Stephanie Jordan didn’t start out to be a jazz singer, but fate stepped in and pulled her back on track. She will take a break in her summer jazz tour, which includes performing for the Black Caucus in
Before joining the musical world already inhabited by her father, saxophonist Edward “Kidd” Jordan and three musical siblings, Kent (flute), Marlon (trumpet) and Rachel (violin), Jordan studied communications. She worked in the nonprofit world, on TV and radio, and for a time managed a museum. But there was always music and singing in her life.
“Growing up, I listened to Nat ‘King’ Cole, Arthur Prysock and local singers like Johnny Adams,” she says by phone from a limo somewhere in
She joined the family musical fold with a debut at the Takoma Station Jazz Club and has played at many
Like so many
“Most of my family got out beforehand, but Marlon stayed behind,” she says. “I had eight feet of water in my house.”
She moved to
“I was able to save a few small things but I had to dump almost everything — the furniture, my car,” she says. “Things that meant a lot to me were suddenly gone.”
She had just finished converting her garage to a Pilates studio where she intended to give classes — Pilates is another passion of hers — but that was gone, too.
The debris is gone now and even the grass is getting cut, but the neighborhood is empty.
The problem is, there is nothing to come back to.
“To rebuild homes is one thing, but the infrastructure is completely gone,” she says. “There is no hospital, no schools, no fire stations. Electricity and sewage service is very limited. There’s no grocery stores, no banks, nothing that makes a community a community.”
Rents for the remaining housing units have skyrocketed, but pay hasn’t. Options are very limited at best. And it’s not just personal; it’s the backbone of the entire city that’s been destroyed.
“The African-American community will never rebound economically or spiritually,” she says. “The fabric of
She says now that Katrina is off the front pages, most Americans just think everything is being taken care of and will be fine. It’s not.
“The only thing I can equate it to is a bomb being dropped on a major city,” she says. She watches the Israeli-Lebanon conflict and says the pictures remind her of
“The pain of it is very deep. I was at home last week and I just sat there in the car and couldn’t stop crying.
“Music is the one savior I have right now. I thank God every day for the state of
She will be giving her musical all on Saturday night.