The battered post-Katrina economy drove jazz musicians into the streets of New Orleans yesterday, holding instruments silent at their sides in what they termed a “solidarity march.” Ninety percent of city musicians were living at or below the poverty line even before the hurricane, the Times-Picayune reports, and now competition for remaining spots has bands playing for peanuts.
Government aid would be welcome, whether through subsidizing music venues, employing musicians, or loosening regulations. But the march’s primary aim was to unite the musical community and stop rabid undercutting. “We can march all over the city,” said one musician. "We can march to Washington. But if all the musicians don't work together, it means nothing."