One of the coolest art markets in New Orleans is losing its prime location. The details are too infuriating to recount, but it comes down to greed and the power to steal someone else’s dream once it becomes a reality. Supposedly, the spot will still be an art market, but run by the land owner and not the dreamer who five years ago envisioned getting artists off the streets at night and into a safe, inviting environment. Now that her idea is a success, she’ll need to move elsewhere.
This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered a moneyed power sucking the soul and momentum out of a creative culture. Ebay was an amazing place to sell my beads when I first got into glass. Then, once many artists and buyers made it into a success, Ebay started raising the fees and found other ways to suck dry the very artists that made that corner of the site what it was. From my local chef who says his landlord is raising the rent now that the shop is popular, and therefore the location more desirable, to Amazon constantly changing the rules to benefit the corporation over the writers, the creators always seem to be at the mercy of those providing the playing field.
Which leads me to my pipe-dream. That definition of success I talked about earlier needs to first be an insanely-stupid, unrealistic, fantasy. My current one is to own a jazz club building on Frenchmen Street. Don’t worry, I’m well aware of how expensive and Not Good an idea that is, but those pipe-dreams get to be what they want to be. I have no interest in being an employer. I’ve done that so I know it’s not me. I’m also not looking for another revenue stream, quite the opposite. I like, or would like, to make my money writing. It’s more in the realm of giving back, but that sounds too altruistic. I want to be a part of the scene. To be known as the guy who’s on the side of the artist. Think Leonard Chess in the movie Cadillac Records without the conflicts.
If we don’t support those creative adventurers—be they artists, musicians, chefs, or any other passionate endeavor—we’ll end being little more than McDonalds and Walmarts from coast to coast. D and I spent five years in an RV seeing this country, so I know we’re pretty much already there. New Orleans is one of the few cities that has truly unique flavor. But that can so easily be watered down for public consumption, or worse, capitalized on by those only looking to cash in. I don’t think I could write stories set in Middle-America-Blahville.