A Frenchmen St. musician was reportedly arrested…for playing music

Reports are surfacing on social media in the New Orleans music community detailing the apparent arrest of Eugene “Little Eugene” Grant, a musician who frequently appears as part of a brass band on Frenchmen Street.

According to multiple, unconfirmed reports, Grant and his fellow musicians were playing outside of Frenchmen Art & Books. The bookstore recently came under new ownership and the new owners are accused of calling the police on the brass band.

The Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans tweeted July 8, “About an hour ago tackled and arrested one of the members of the brass band on Frenchmen St. We’ll post more information as we get it” before following it up with a tweet earlier today (July 9) saying, “An update on the brass band musician arrested last night–he was released as of this morning, and was charged with resisting/obstructing and officer and obstructing the public right of way. A video of part of the incident is on social media, and we are looking for a full video.”

Jenelle Roccaforte took to Facebook, posting “NOPD JUST ARRESTED LITTLE EUGENE FOR ‘Assulting [SIC] a police officer’ all he was doing was playing his horn.  Any sensible person knows he is incapable of assaulting anyone!!! Fuck the Frenchman Arts and Bookstore mother fuckers that called in the brass band resulting in a disabled person getting arrested. EDIT: He’s been released!!!”

Christopher Henry, a Facebook user, used the social media platform to post Facebook Live video apparently documenting the July 8, 2019 incident.

On Twitter, DJ Soul Sister – one of the city’s most prominent DJs and an outspoken supporter of musicians’ rights – voiced her frustration over the reports.

“I don’t understand why over 10 police cars and over 40 police officers are needed for a complaint against a brass band playing music on Frenchmen St! Also, why are people complaining (still) against brass bands playing music on Frenchmen St. Or ANYWHERE in New Orleans?,” she wrote.

She continued, “Also, cops should not be putting chokeholds on people where no one is causing danger and no one is in danger. I was not there last night, but people who saw it say that young man could have been killed. By a cop. For playing music? Enough is enough!”

Some on social media are trying to organize a protest outside the bookstore tonight (July 9), which is located at 600 Frenchmen Street.

The owner of the bookstore, David Zalkind, told OffBeat that the Young Fellaz Brass Band—which used to play across the street at the opposite corner—has now chosen the spot in front of the bookstore to play. Zalkind said “I have nothing against the brass band playing on Frenchmen Street. It’s part of the street culture there. But they block access to our store, which is open until midnight. I asked the band several times to limit their sets to 45 minutes out of an hour, so we’d get 15 minutes of free access to the store, or to even play on the side of the store, but that didn’t work.”

Requests for a comment have been made to the New Orleans Police Department. OffBeat will update this story as it develops.

  • Gtrdude232

    The police doing this is ridiculous. They should shut down the street for a certain time each night. That would allow these guys to play and also make pedestrians much safer in that area. Also I feel like I never want to go in this bookstore again for him calling the cops. The brass band happening there is one of the best things in the city.