are called off this Mardi Gras season for our collective health and safety, but
that hasn't stopped Krewe du Vieux from teaming up to boost the fundraising
efforts initiated by the Krewe of Red Beans. A full 100 percent of the proceeds
raised will go towards brass bands.
du Vieux (KdV), known for its salacious satire, takes this gap year to show the
truly tantalizing thing about them: their huge hearts. In a normal year, the 17
sub-krewes that form KdV usually parade with 18 floats and 20 brass bands. On
the GoFundMe page, organizer Yvonne
Garret wrote, "We'll miss parading this year, but we'll miss our brass-band
friends even more." Awww. That's the kind of quote that makes you feel cheery
in this quiet Carnival season.
goal is to at least raise what we would have paid the bands for the 2021
parade, and hopefully a lot more," Garret explained. The goal is set at
$20,000. At the time of this article's publication, they have raised $2,640.
The fundraiser has been going for 10 days now. If at all possible, consider
putting on a record by a local artist and dropping a tip on the page. It's not
the same as live music, but it will help to sustain the people who fill our
city with sound.
all, New Orleans wouldn't be complete without its brass bands. And yet, KdV's
GoFundMe is notably categorized on the site as "Rent, Food, and Monthly Bills."
That classification is brutally honest. Behind the feel-good story of a
community banding together to crowdfund for musicians is the fact that they
have to. The shutdowns have been going on for 10 months. After month five, the
expanded unemployment benefits in the CARES Act dried up. New Orleans made
progress in bringing down coronavirus infections. But even when the city
reached Phase Three, singing and wind-blown instruments were prohibited
indoors. The direct response for out-of-work-workers was labeled "stimulus,"
not "survival." That stimulus amount remained as empty as the music venues
until December, when Congress finally approved sending out one $600 check.
the Krewe of Red Beans, channeling their Mardi Gras energy towards helping local
artists get paid. Their initiative to "Hire a
Mardi Gras Artist" began hiring artists to transform
people's houses into decorative displays. Each "House Float" creates about 15
jobs. Not content to stop there, the Krewe of Red Beans partnered with the
Magazine Street Merchants Association to sell apparel and flags as part of the
"Hire a Mardi Gras Artist" initiative. According to Offbeat: "Twenty-plus businesses on Magazine Street will
participate, and the krewe hopes New Orleanians will join in to support small
businesses along Magazine Street." Participating stores include the Audobon Zoo Gift Shop, Fleurty Girl, and Mignon Faget.
is in that collectively striving spirit that Krewe du Vieux set up their
fundraiser. Their GoFundMe ends on a note that reverberates: "Brass bands are
the soundtrack of this city. From second lines to weddings, funerals, parades,
games, clubs, parties, backyards, porches—hell, even brunch. Help us give back
to the culture-bearers who give us so much."