You evil bastards… you know you have me over a barrel with these price hikes. I can no more resist renewing my subscription to OffBeat than I can resist jamming down a Central Grocery muffaletta on the banks of the Mississippi when I’m in your lovely town.
So fine. Renewed I am. Besides, the local media in Fort Worth, Texas does a lousy job covering Mardi Gras Indians.
(I hope you know the seeming anger is totally tongue-in-cheek. I’m a huge fan of you guys.)
—Jim Kerrigan (Wild Man in Abstentia), Fort Worth, Texas
I got to know Spencer Bohren a bit when I was doing music reviews and when he was in Tucson he would stop in my class when I taught school and always play for the kids—he had a lot of fans out here.
—Bob Gottlieb, Tucson, Arizona
Jamie Lynn Vessels
This is in response to Paul Sanchez’s interview (My Music, October 2019) with Jamie Lynn Vessels.—ED.
When I finally got up the courage to share with other people it was more rewarding than I imagined. It’s not easy, and oftentimes still a struggle, but I hope you can/are doing the same.
—Jamie Lynn Vessels, New Orleans, Louisiana
Night Time Economy
This letter is in response to Ashlye Keaton’s and Gene Meneray’s guest editorial “New Orleans’ ‘Night Time Economy’ Needs An Intervention.”—Ed.
I’ve lived and worked as a full-time musician in San Francisco, Seattle and New Orleans for the past 40 plus years. Can I imagine a San Francisco without a Fillmore? For the first 15 years I lived there the Fillmore was shuttered and frankly it didn’t detract from living or working there. Why list that as a “treasure” when Winterland arguably had more significant shows than the Fillmore? To my knowledge both Seattle and San Francisco are no longer places any musician minus a “star” can afford to live. Gentrification has sucked the life out of the neighborhoods that I and others my age were part of: the punk revolution-along with hip-hop—the last real cultural phenoms. I’m in year seven in New Orleans and New Orleans is heading in the direction of Seattle and San Francisco. So using them as a model to “help” in my mind is a giant mistake. When I first got here Royal Street was filled with street musicians and Frenchmen Street still had a bit of funkiness to it. While Checkpoint Charlie and others have stayed funky there’s nothing funky about Dat Dog and the Daiquiri shops, etc. Fortunately, for the musicians in this town our city officials are so incompetent and corrupt most likely nothing will happen. I think history suggests that most of their efforts have either lined their pockets or mucked things up. And remember we don’t have either the population or the “Daddy Warbucks” companies like Google and Microsoft to come in to “save the day” on their terms.
—Richard Egner, New Orleans, Louisiana
This letter is in response to Scott Billington’s guest editorial “What Does A New Orleans Music Industry Actually Mean?”—Ed.
I’m a local drummer. I’ve played all over the South, since 1993. If musicians in Louisiana ask where, when, and how much—they would find gigs that pay. But Louisiana is part of the Chitlin’ Circuit. In the South, musicians are still bamboozled to play shows for very little. And musicians allow themselves to be taken advantage of. The other problem in New Orleans is that there’s a small clique of musicians who get all the recording gigs and overseas work. And if you’re not in the list, you simply don’t get work.
—James Broussard, New Orleans, Louisiana
The October 2019 OffBeat cover story, “Ain’t No Limitations: The Soul Rebels Pave The Roads And Knock Down The Doors,” erroneously reported that trumpeter Marcus “Red” Hubbard played with New Breed Brass Band. We regret the error.—Ed.
OffBeat welcomes letters from its readers—both comments and criticisms. To be considered for publication, all letters must be signed and contain the current address and phone number of the writer. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for length or content deemed objectionable to OffBeat readers. Please send letters to Editor, OffBeat Publications, 421 Frenchmen St., Suite 200, New Orleans, LA 70116.