New Orleans Musicians Need COVID-19 Financial Relief Assistance

Relief Assistance Is Needed To Help New Orleans’ Musicians and Tourism Industries Communities That Are Currently Facing Economic Challenges Due to COVID-19

December 15, 2020 — New Orleans’ cultural and tourism economies have been shutdown since March 15, 2020. The tens of thousands of individuals who make their living in these industries have been out of work for nine months, as of today. A few small grants trickled in to provide assistance for some. The pandemic unemployment provided much needed financial assistance for those who qualified. Unfortunately, the pandemic unemployment ended on July 31st, traditional unemployment (which ranges from $25 to $157 weekly) ends next week and grant assistance has dried up. For months, individuals and families have been forced to negotiate paying rents, utilities and internet or use those funds to buy groceries, pay childcare and tuition, buy medication and have money available for accidentals. The savings that might have existed has long been utilized. For many, no other financial resources are available. The time has come for the City of New Orleans — Mayor and City Council — to provide immediate Relief Assistance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced New Orleans’ music venues to close and events to be indefinitely postponed. Live music, music venues, and iconic cultural performance spaces are a big part of our city’s cultural life and a vital component of New Orleans’ tourism. For the last nine months these industries have been shuttered. City’s like Houston Texas have provided rental assistance for musicians and is currently funding grants for musicians up to $5,000, being funded with $3 million of the City’s allocated CARES Act 2020 funds. For New Orleans, there has been no mention nor implementation of any form of city funded support (Fair Share) for musicians—it has been nine months.

With that said, the easiest and most approachable way the Mayor of New Orleans and City Council can provide Financial Relief is by providing an immediate forgiveness for Sewerage and Water Board, Entergy and COX/ATT monthly bills, including making this forgiveness retroactive to April 2020 and remaining in place until the cultural and tourism industries are fully recovered and individuals can safely return to fully wage-earning work. Until this can become a reality, musicians and members of the tourism ecosystems deserve their fair share of financial support and relief.

As the President of the Sewerage and Water Board, Mayor LaToya Cantrell has full autonomy to make this a reality. In the same way, the City Council oversees the utilities regulations of Entergy, COX Cable and ATT, so they too have the autonomy to make this a reality, similar to how Councilwoman Helena Moreno was able to negotiate Entergy providing a $100 pandemic credit for four months for those who qualified. Therefore, this request is doable. Both the state and city have been allocated CARES Act 2020 funds and will be allocated additional funds, with these funds being available to reimburse local utility agencies. Again, this request is doable and can be implemented immediately. The time has come for the City of New Orleans — Mayor and City Council — to provide immediate Relief Assistance for musicians and tourism industry communities that are currently facing extreme economic challenges due to COVID-19.

In closing, the said forgiveness will be for a duration beginning April 2020 and existing until the cultural and tourism industries have fully recovered and individuals can safely return to work 100%. For individuals whom have been struggling to pay their utilities, in whole or part, will be provided a credit applicable for either future utility payments once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and/or those credits can be paid in the form of a check, which would allow further economic relief for individuals.

With a streamlined process to qualify, applicants:

  • Must be a musician, cultural performers, service industry or hospitality (i.e., Cultural Economy) whose principal residence is located within Orleans Parish.
  • Must provide evidence of how business revenue has significantly decreased because of government restrictions or other challenges due to COVID-19.
  • Must provide evidence of unemployment and financial hardship caused due to business/industry shutdown because of government restrictions or other challenges due to COVID-19.
  • Utility service must be in either the individuals name and/or their spouse.

In the Groove Together,

Dr. Brice A. Miller, Cultural Entrepreneur, Anthropologist, Jazz Trumpeter/Vocalist

Do You Know What It Means To Miss ____________?

Dr. Brice Miller (trumpet) performing with the Original Pinstripe Brass Band, led by Herbert McCarver on March 13, 2020, the Friday before the Covid19 pandemic economic shutdown.

Today, November 16th marks exactly eight months to the day the music and cultural economy came to a screeching halt in New Orleans. It has also been four months since pandemic unemployment ended for upwards of 100,000 New Orleanians who earn a living working in the entertainment, hospitality and tourism related industries. The assistance from local government has been zero. Unconscionable for a city that brings in about $125 million per day from tourism alone, equaling billions per year. What’s evident is nobody is coming to assist us, even when our talents have made them wealthy… We deserve OUR FAIR SHARE.

I’ll say it loud: I AM NEW ORLEANS CULTURE!

jazzman #engagetheculture #soneworleans #neworleans #onetimeinnola #jazz #music #culture #mardigrasindians #brassband #streetculture #cityofculture #culturaleconomy #economicdevelopment #bam

📸 @bamcapture
🎺 @iambricemiller
🥁@originalpinstripebrassband
🗺 @uptownneworleans
BOOK ENTERTAINMENT @ http://www.thenomc.com

New Orleans: Covid19 Phase 3.1

|Just Asking Questions:| So where are all the New Orleans cultural and economic experts, and what’ve they done over the last 7 months to improve the lives, wages and business infrastructure? And while the city was “embracing the culture,” while paying bands $400, what’ve they done to ensure all the musicians, cultural bearers and artist get their/our FAIR SHARE from the millions of state dollars negotiated pre-Covid19?

Truth is, the same folk who claim to be experts and advocates are the same ones trying to get city contracts, be on city boards and get free invites to politically influenced parties, so they can’t really advocate because they’re looking out for their best interest, not yours. Sadly, after 7 months of mandated shutdown, when live entertainment does become allowable, nothing has changed for the better; I’m betting pay and opportunities will actually be worsened.

I’ve watched, studied, researched, written about, talked about New Orleans’ cultural economy, interviewed my dad along with dozens of elders, been an active performer for more than 30 years and cultural entrepreneur for over 20 years. I’ve watched the same folk (so called experts, advocates and gatekeepers) dance around the political tables. I’ve ran into those same people rubbing elbows at private parties. I’ve had those same people emailing me and wanting to do lunch or coffee, talk about the culture. I’ve also watched the same musicians and performers bounce from poverty to above poverty to below poverty, while others bounce from rehab to clean to homelessness back to rehab, with a magazine or newspaper article or mention to feed the ego from time to time.

As a cultural performer recently posted on her social media: “I feel sad to see that, after going through everything that has gone on this past year, entertainment practices appear largely unchanged; No accountability necessary. Just pick up where we left off on March 15th, I guess.”

And yes, that might sound cynical, but it pretty much sums everything up in the grand scheme of things, because ain’t shit changed but the dates and the weather!

Strange how suddenly the most praised and exploited commodity in New Orleans completely fell off the map. From the initial shutdown to the recent Phase 3.1 announcement, there has not been a single mention, protocol, or suggestive approach for (potential) performances or innovative ways to support the musicians, artist and cultural performers. But I assure you, when the time comes, the commercials, billboards and TV ads will be plentiful, and filled with cultural representation.

For musicians, artist, and cultural performers, the primary conversations should have been: knowing your worth, understanding and demanding your value, sharing the profits, enhancing what performance looks like, sounds like and pays. But sadly, after 7 months, and who knows how many more, because they’ve been no conversations, the post-Covid19 scene will be more of the same as it’s always been, for the exception of more folk taking less pay, to at least get some gigs, just to get by until the next one comes along.

Since April, I’ve interviewed over 200 musicians and cultural performers. I’ve photographed almost 300. I’ve videoed dozens. My daily FB Live has upwards of 3,000 daily views, a platform that I also talked to and interviewed performers. I say that to say, there’s most likely no one else who have engaged with the actual members of the cultural economy and cultural communities as I have. I know firsthand what they/we/us are going through.

You’d think, with all the homegrown talent in this city and the city’s dependency on that talent to draw the millions of visitors, that being a musician would be… sorry, I digressed!

—Dr. Brice Miller • Cultural Anthropologist, Jazz Musician, Educator, CEO @ The New Orleans Music Company • http://www.thenomc.com + http://www.noladjtruck

#RedAlertRESTART: Support the Live Music Industry

|We Make Live Music:| SUPPORT us with #RedAlertRESTART as we shines a light on the struggling live music industry. Our red #NolaDJTruck is ready to lead the March!

More than 20 million people depend on our industry as their livelihood. New Orleans’ identity, economy and tourism depend on the cultural economy, which is compromised predominantly by live music. As a cultural entrepreneur, my firm, #TheNewOrleansMusicCompany has been shutdown since March 15th, impacting dozens of musicians and hundreds of clients.

If the @saints can have “fans” attend games, our music venues, clubs, and wedding venues can have “fans” and our Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs and Mardi Gras Indians can parade through the streets of the city. Let’s #engagetheculture!

engagetheculture #neworleans #livemusic #takeittothestreets #stageonwheels #djtruck #brassbands #jazz #mardigrasindians #redalaertrestart

Dr. Brice Miller: The Soul of New Orleans

We are beyond honored to highlight our Founder and Artistic Director has been selected by the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network as their inaugural member spotlight as the epitome of the Soul of New Orleans!

A scholar, a cultural anthropologist, a musician/composer, a researcher, a father, a husband, and a gentleman. Dr. Miller is humble, but hardworking and this is showcased in his multi talents and the records of success that represent his character and dedication to cultural performance and entrepreneurship.

We’re So New Orleans!

We wish we could be providing the sounds and cultural performance of the city at events, conventions, conferences, weddings, clubs and on festival stages around the world as we’ve done for more than 20 years. And although Covid19 has changed the ways we engage, The New Orleans Music Company remains committed to being your #1 source for New Orleans music.

We’ve added virtual streaming, virtual experiences and video production to our offerings. Take a look at our Grand Marshal, Mr. Percy Ellis doing his famous moves in the French Quarter! All shot and produced by TheNOMC using DJI drone, OSMOPOCKET and edited in FinalPro.

Let us be your source for virtual performances or creative music/cultural video development!

Keeping New Orleans Music Alive!

📸 |Motivation Monday:| Yes Lawd! When your (father and son!) photography work is featured on cnn.com and your artistic contributions provide inspiration in these dark times…💥

Showing my 15 year old son (and the family) OUR photo on cnn.com was a joyful feeling. He’s reminded, I’m working to set he and his siblings up for success. He’s spent this pandemic photographing and videoing some of the city’s most iconic cultural performers. Absolute LOVE!

Reminder: If you’re looking for some creative photography, video, droning or creative solutions to push your brand, #patreon or #onlyfans drop me a DM. Let’s work + #engagetheculture!

Keeping the Soul and Sounds of New Orleans Flowing…

Dr. Brice Miller performing his most recent smash composition, So New Orleans with Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra for a live streaming concert in partnership with the Niagara Jazz Festival in Canada

Covid19 has shifted the way artist perform and engage with audiences. The New Orleans Music Company has adapted and now serves as the leading producer of HIGH QUALITY streaming performances that represent New Orleans’ unique musical and cultural diaspora. Let us bring the SOUL and SOUNDS of New Orleans to you, virtually!

Future New Orleans

Ecirb Müller’s Twisted Dixie performs an early Saturday evening set at Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street. Within one hour, the venue was jam packed.

Major pivot is happening to outdoor spaces…the future of the culture is small parties/house parties/smaller secondlines, etc. We are the culture, not the festivals. So long as the people remain, the culture develops. More of the ways of those who came before us…

Mask Up NOLA: Our Culture Depends on It!

|Covid19:| Dear New Orleans, I am Dr. Brice Miller, an internationally performing jazz trumpeter/vocalist. As a cultural entrepreneur, my company @TheNewOrleansMusicCompany provides entertainment for some of the biggest events/festivals in the city and beyond. Are you missing the culture and sounds of New Orleans?

Mask up, New Orleans: It’s a matter of life, death and those of us in the cultural economy are yearning to return to our livelihoods. We’ve been silent since March 14th. Coronavirus is not a hoax. Enough is enough. We’ve lost enough people. All of festivals and cultural events have been canceled. Sunday second-lines are silent. Our cultural economy is dead. Our tours canceled. Let’s do it for all of us… MASK UP NOLA!

#maskup #coronavirus #covid19 #pandemic #culturaleconomy #maskupnola #cityofculture #theneworleansmusiccompany #jazzparty #uptownjazzorchestra #jazzman 📸by Brice Miller, Jr aka @bamcapture (age15)