If you’re reading this, you love New Orleans, especially New Orleans music. What’s the best thing about living here?
My answer would be the people and the way we interact.
One thing that’s sort of omnipresent is the friendliness of the people. When I walk out of my house in the morning, if someone is walking by (could my next-door neighbor, maybe the odd neighbor who I’ve never met, a garbageman, a repairman, someone passing my house), we always both say hello and ask “How ya doin’ today?”
This is just what we do. We work and play together. We’re a team.
This morning, I left my house and a girl in her twenties was walking down the sidewalk, her eyes cast down. She didn’t look up and didn’t say hello (but I did, and she half-heartedly responded).
I am pretty sure this young woman wasn’t from around here…mainly because she didn’t say hello. Our community is weird that way. We are neighborly. We care about others. Newcomers: take note. If you want to fit in, this is the South, baby, and it’s Noo Awlins. We are friendly to each other.
NOLA is a great place to live and work, but it can also be kind of frustrating. While our friendliness and camaraderie is probably the most lovely thing about being here, there are other aspects that make New Orleans less of a good place to do business. Everyone is trying to retain control of their own turf. I find this very disturbing, because I have always felt that working together can accomplish a lot more for our community than people haggling over a piece of pie. Dumb. We work together, we all do better.
Let me give you the most recent example. As my readers know, I’ve tried for over 30 years to generate interest in the concept of a music museum in New Orleans. It’s really a no-brainer. The demand is certainly there; it would be a wonderful resource to preserve and showcase our musical heritage; and it would be a premier tool in keeping the musical flame alive and well amongst future generations.
Currently, I know of at least four groups who are working on the plans for a museum. Now, in my humble opinion as a marketer and someone who’s been around this town for most of my life, I see that the creation of four big museums is not the optimal plan. First of all, there’s not enough money to finance them. I know all the parties who are making plans, and I know that if they only worked together, there is enough talent and passion among the people in the groups that it would be most fortuitous if they joined forces, rather than be competitive with each other.
And then there are the politics involved. It’s my belief that until we can get over being competitive in doing something good for our community, then everyone loses. We need teamwork to actually accomplish the best possible outcome.
Work together, people! It’s for the good of our city and its music.