The last few weeks of extremely frigid weather in our part of the world exposed us to some really harsh realities regarding New Orleans: first, our dwellings sure aren’t built for really cold weather—old houses don’t have any insulation and they sure are drafty, but even worse, their pipes are exposed and they freeze and crack. So we freeze to death during our regular winter temperatures, but when it gets down past 32 degrees; well, it’s downright dangerous. There were a lot of pissed-off tourists who didn’t have flushing toilets or water during their (probably expensive) visit to New Orleans. Combine that with a nastier-than-average flu season and you have some miserable people on your hands. Secondly—and even worse—the very cold temps demonstrate that we have some very serious problems with our infrastructure. Water mains broke, leaving whole neighborhoods without potable water for days at a time; streets were iced over and impassable in many cases, shutting businesses, schools and the entire city down.
While New Orleans has developed an attraction and rep for being both trendy and a relatively cheap place to live for people moving to the hipster capital of the South, I’ll bet they didn’t experience these issues in Brooklyn or Ohio or California.
We’ve neglected our infrastructure for so long that to get it back to even normal is going to take some serious money and time.
I sort of feel the same way about the infrastructure that supports our musicians. Unless we can continue to encourage and support the behind-the-scenes business types who make it possible for local musicians to get work, and cover their business, marketing and financial needs, we’ll always be just a tourist town with a lot of musicians.
Infrastructure needs some love. What will and can we do to improve our music business community so that it will be able to support musicians locally and get them to a level where they thrive and prosper?