Today, I ran across two old friends, both working in the Quarter. The great photographer and musician Zack Smith was doing a shoot for Dirty Coast on Royal. His photography spans all of the different cultures that Southeastern Louisiana encompasses, and his work with the indie rock band, Rotary Downs is worth a deep listen. It’s on my regular rotation.
Sam Mee is someone I have known since I was a teen, when I used to run with his old employer, Roger Simonson. (Sam worked at Roger’s Royal Street store, A Better Mousetrap which had its heyday in the early 1970s.) Sam has been a working artist for decades, and shows up on the Square from time to time. As these things usually go, I had just been thinking about him recently, realizing I had not seen him in some time. And then, there he was.
I even bought an original of his today:
I talked to both of them about how they are doing with the “job, gig, hustle” lifestyle we have here in town. Zack is doing well, but still takes the cycle of business very seriously; Sam is a little less sanguine about sales, but still very good at keeping it going after all of these years.
Eleven million visitors and less than half a million residents — and most still struggle. Since the levee breaks, the cost of everything has been doubled, tripled and the number of opportunists arriving has easily quadrupled.
It is in everyone’s interest to see our creative community succeed, yet the very infrastructure works against it.
Botton line: if you see an honest hustler or gigger, pay your respects in some way.