Wendell Pierce

Actor and author Wendell Pierce has been in more 30 films, appeared in nearly 50 television shows and has performed in dozens of stage productions. He is perhaps best known for his work the HBO dramas "The Wire" and “Treme” — a role for which he learned to play the trombone. He is the author of The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play and The City That Could Not Be Broken, a powerful and redemptive narrative of his family and the city of New Orleans. That book was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Debut Author. Pierce was born in New Orleans, raised in the black, middle-class community of Pontchartrain Park, the first African-American post-war suburb. After attending Benjamin Franklin High School, Pierce graduated from the New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts and The Juilliard School’s Drama Division. After Hurricane Katrina, Pierce started the non–profit Pontchartrain Park Community Development Corp., to build new affordable solar and geothermal homes in the area for families displaced by Katrina. He is also one of the founders of Sterling Farms, a chain of grocery stores in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to bring more supermarkets to food deserts.A veteran of stage and screen, Pierce has acted and produced on Broadway. His production of Clybourne Park was nominated for four Tony Awards, and won the Tony for Best Play in 2012. In 2009, Pierce became the host of the nationally syndicated, Peabody Award-winning radio program, "Jazz at Lincoln Center."