NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A rally for local musicians second lined through the French Quarter with special needs trumpeter Eugene Grant at the helm.
“Important because music is for life, important for celebrating music,” said Grant.
For Grant, music is life.“We are proud of our music because music is culture, our music is our blood and our music is our heart,” said Grant.
Yet, Grant’s music recently took a backseat to outrage over an encounter with NOPD July 8, following a complaint from a Frenchman Street business owner. It was all captured on camera and sparked a social media firestorm.
“It’s so popular people were gathered all the way around the street. They’re over here and so, our bookstore basically was almost impassable,” said Frenchmen Books and Art owner David Zalkind.
Zalkind is the new owner of the longtime LGBT bookstore and says he wants to be a part of the community, contributing to the art and culture the defines the city, while making money.
“We all have to coexist. We have to figure out how to make this work. Things change and it’s hard to change and I understand the bands predicament but I didn’t expect to open up this bookstore to be blocked,” Zalkind explained.
But the 33-year New Orleans resident echoed similar sentiments as these musicians and their supporters. Both sides are calling for a conversation and a solution to safely supporting local musicans.
“We’re just trying to get justice and keep the music alive,” said Grant’s bandmate Revert Andrews
“40 years and going strong so, we don’t want to destroy this,” Zalkind said, referencing his shop. “We don’t want to destroy the music.”
Grant’s attorney says he and his bandmates now have permission to play in front of Willy’s Chicken Shack, and Zalkind says that’s fine with him.
“I’m so happy they’re playing across the street and I can look out the window and it was wonderful. Everybody’s dancing and people are coming in,” Zalkind said.Yet, he and others agree the discussion must continue. There is a larger issue at play.