The New Orleans Traditional Jazz Camp was originated by Leslie Cooper, Banu Gibson, and Anita Hemeter. Their love for the music inspired the idea for a camp to be held in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. The camp project gained momentum when these three found they had the same passion to create such a camp.

Nita Hemeter, Leslie Cooper, Banu Gibson


Banu Gibson, Executive Director is a vocalist, bandleader, and record label executive. Ms. Gibson brings years of experience in the music business plus her talents as a musician and performer to her passion for the jazz camp. In 2009 she was honored by the Preservation Resource Center for her contributions to music in New Orleans and was a New Orleans Magazine’s 2007 Jazz All Star. The highlights of Banu’s singing career have been appearing on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, bringing in the millennium as the only guest artist of the Boston Pops, singing at the 2001 Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, performing with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at the Bowl and sitting in with Woody Allen at the Café

Leslie Cooper, Production Director grew up a vocalist with jazz musicians for parents. She manages a Trad Jazz/Brass band comprised of High school students. She is director of a music education program called "Pass it On." She is a member of the Traditional Jazz Educators Network and has assisted with music educational programs for students of all ages for the past 24 years. She is a board member for the Friends of the Jazz and Heritage School of Music and serves on the Education Committee of the American Federation of Musicians, local 174-496 New Orleans, Louisiana and is President of New Orleans Women in Music (NOWIM).

Nita Hemeter, Founding Member is the drummer for Some Like it Hot! an up and coming traditional jazz band. Nita started playing drums late in life inspired by the wonderful music and culture of New Orleans. Some Like It Hot has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans Satchmo Festival, the French Quarter Festival and most recently "Festiv all" in Charleston, West Virginia. They perform weekly in and around the New Orleans area. Nita was on a European tour with the band Mo'lasses, a mostly female brass band. She is a passionate activist for New Orleans music, culture and traditional jazz.

  Banu Gibson, Leslie Cooper, and Anita Hemeter are all members of New Orleans Women in Music.  

Mission Statement
To teach and perpetuate the musical style of early jazz music as it originated in New Orleans.

To create a yearly musical event in New Orleans that will raise the level of musicianship and knowledge of early jazz.

To expose traditional jazz to a larger audience.

To attract musicians from around the world to NOLA to learn traditional jazz.