On April 4, the New Orleans Business
Alliance (NOLABA), French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI), and WWL-TV will
collaborate and host Live From the Porch, a virtual concert to benefit local
gig workers. Live From the Porch will feature a series of at-home performances
by some of the city's most beloved musicians, such as Shamarr Allen, Robin
Barnes and Pat Casey, Susan Cowsill and Russ Broussard, Walter "Wolfman"
Washington, and DJ Raj Smoove. Those participating in Live From the Porch will
be compensated for their performances by Krewe de Nieux, a group of local
The New Orleans Business Alliance
donated the first $100,000 to the Gig Economy Workers Relief Fund in hopes that
it would reach at least $500,000. Within its first week, the fund received
major donations from the Saints and Pelicans owner Gayla Benson, Baptist
Community Ministries, Gulf Coast Bank, and beyond, doubling the original
contribution. Since then, the fund has reached over $380,000, thanks to
donations from locals and small businesses alike.
The idea behind Live From the Porch
is to raise money for the relief fund and provide income for participating
musicians, many of whom have been out of work due to forced cancellations and
closures because of the coronavirus. "Throughout this crisis, we have witnessed
first-hand the incredible strain and burden that COVID-19 has placed upon our
local artists and gig workers," said president and general manager of WWL-TV
Tod Smith. Above all, the orchestraters of Live From the Porch hope it brings
some much-needed joy to those hunkering down at home. "We're incredibly excited
for this event, which will provide a little bit of light during this
unprecedented period," said NOLABA president and CEO Quentin Messer, Jr.
Rideshare drivers, musicians, arena
workers, freelancers, and festival production staff are just a few of the many
gig economy workers that make up almost 10 percent of the workforce in Orleans
Parish. So many of these workers depend on the city's cultural calendar for
steady income, but because upcoming festivals have been either postponed or
cancelled, they no longer have the economic security. "The decision to postpone
French Quarter Festival was a heavy one, particularly because of the impact we
knew it would have on the artists, musicians, and hospitality workers that
count on our event for their livelihood," said Emily Madero, president and CEO
of French Quarter Festivals, Inc.
Participating organizations hope
that the Gig Economy Workers Relief Fund will provide workers with the
resources they need. "We're so happy and proud to be partnering with such
amazing organizations and musicians to put on this event and hopefully make a
real difference for our friends and neighbors during these uncertain times,"
Tod Smith said. Viewers can tune in to the concert on Facebook or Instagram via
the FQFI and NOLABA pages.