The Roots of Music is honored to be a 2024 recipient of The Lewis Prize for Music


Derrick was born and raised in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. A drummer since the age of 5, Derrick is a professional musician and major contributor to the music industry. Since the 1990s, Derrick has performed as the snare drummer with the 2012 Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band.

Derrick believes strongly that music is a powerful force for good. By instilling invaluable skills and self-discipline, music education can provide youth with the foundation to make positive life choices. He has extensive experience with our city’s school marching bands having served as the marching band drum instructor at both high school and middle school levels.

Derrick’s belief in the future of New Orleans and to the preservation and celebration of its great cultural and musical heritage led him to found the Roots of Music. His commitment to improving the life choices of youth in New Orleans and to the success of the program have led to national recognition for the Roots of Music and its leader:

  • In 2009, Derrick was named a Top Ten CNN Hero
  • In 2010, Derrick was an Energizer Bunny Hall of Fame Top Ten Finalist
  • In 2011, Derrick won a Blue Cross Blue Shield Angel Award for outstanding volunteer services on behalf of Louisiana’s Children

We Believe music has the power to transform lives