Downbeat Magazine



New Photography Book Pays Homage to Spirit of New Orleans
Posted 8/17/2015

August 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and to commemorate this solemn milestone, award-winning photojournalist Leon Morris—known for his compelling, intimate portraits of musicians—will release the coffee-table book Homage: New Orleans.

The book is a tribute to New Orleans’ influence on contemporary music, and features more than 300 images, as well as intriguing essays by Morris. The book captures the personalities and performances of influential jazz, soul, world, roots and blues musicians who have called New Orleans home.

Featured artists include New Orleans stalwarts like Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas and Wynton Marsalis.

The book also includes photos of icons who frequented the city during their careers, including Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Cab Calloway and James Brown.

The collection is based on “Homage,” a critically acclaimed fine art collection presented at galleries in Newport, Rhode Island (during the Newport Jazz Festival), Carmel, California (during the Monterey Jazz Festival), and Memphis, Tennessee (during Memphis in May).

Born in Darwin, Australia, Morris began his career as a documentary photographer in London. He has won multiple fine art and photography awards, and in 1989 he was appointed the Victoria and Albert Museum’s first photographer-in-residence.

His work has been featured in The Guardian, Vanity Fair, The Wire, New Musical Express (NME), Q Magazine and dozens of other publications.

Morris said, “Fundamentally, the book is about my journey of discovery in search of the roots of the music I know and love. That this led me to New Orleans, was, in retrospect, inevitable. Once I found New Orleans, I was absolutely captivated—it has been a bedrock for my creative sustenance over the years and provides for me, as I know it does for others, a musical and cultural connection that is profoundly soulful, sometimes spiritual, and always hugely enjoyable.”

Homage: New Orleans is available at the, Amazon and book shops. One dollar from every book sold will be donated to WWOZ, the New Orleans community radio station whose role in preserving jazz in the city inspired this work.

The New Orleans Healing Center (2372 St. Claude Ave.) will be displaying a selection of photos from the book through Aug. 30.

For more information, click here, or visit the author’s website,


Dr. John at the 2005 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Photo: Leon Morris)


Comments are closed.