New Orleans descended on New York for two concurrent concerts, dubbed From the Big Apple to the Big Easy, Tuesday night to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Big names such as Dave Matthews, Simon and Garfunkel, and Elton John filled the bills of the shows held at Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden, but New Orleans acts from the Meters to the Neville Brothers were the focus of the evening's entertainment.
Piano player and studio whiz Allen Toussaint led the house band for the first segment of the MSG concert, alongside Late Show With David Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer. Together they hosted a rotating panel of guests that included Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett and New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas, who performed her classic "Time Is on My Side," famously covered by the Rolling Stones in 1964. Aaron Neville joined Toussaint for a chilling take on Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," sung against a backdrop of horrific images from flood ravaged New Orleans.