Scott Aiges, the first “official” Times-Picayune music writer; band manager; entrepreneur; organizer of multiple events around the city; former director of the New Orleans Music Office; and most currently an executive at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, left his position at the Foundation effective June 1.
I was familiar with Scott through his articles as a music journalist for the Times-Picayune, but I finally met him in person when he worked for Mayor Nagin as the Director of Music Business Development. Scott was trying to pass legislation that would provide a tax credit for recording music in the state. It was modeled after the state’s film tax credit program, and he was working hard to make the case at the capitol. I was a lobbyist then, with an interest in creative industry development, and was following the bill. He was struggling with the process and I offered my help. Scott passed that bill, and the first law in the nation that provides financial incentives to recorded music has been on the books ever since. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and we started to hang out regularly.
After Katrina, Scott became Director of Programs, Marketing and Communication for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and I became the Executive Director for the State’s Office of Entertainment Industry Development. I learned that, if Scott was at the helm, the job would be done right. We collaborated on numerous projects including the first Sync Up Conference, which has developed into a year-round music business event that empowers and educates musicians, and the Only In Louisiana business development lunch, which became the go-to event in Los Angeles during Grammy week. Scott helped me navigate SXSW and allowed me to tag along as he worked to bring business to New Orleans. He taught me so much about the music industry and was happy to connect me to many industry professionals. We spent time brainstorming and dreaming of what New Orleans could be. Indeed, Scott’s idea of a music export office and intellectual property creation and monetization, left an impression on me and can be directly linked to the formation of New Orleans Music Economy (NOME), and GNO Inc.’s music business development strategy—whether he likes it or not.
As a festival producer, he has developed some of the best local music festivals in the city and employed countless local musicians as well as visual and culinary artists.
Scott Aiges’ list of contributions to the New Orleans music community is a very long one, longer than can be included here. His is a lasting legacy. His passion, drive, skills, vision, and ideas will be missed by this city. I will miss Scott for all those reasons too, but I will miss just hanging out with him most of all.