Thursday, August 14, 2008
Shreveport musicians and the Mayor: a start toward unity and a city-wide musical consciousness
"Shreveport is losing population - we're under 200,000 at this point - but Bossier's gaining people. Folks want a clean, orderly community for their residence. " The mayor's priority is to reverse the population slide by emphasizing a new level of awareness of trash and blight and of keeping neighborhoods free of threatening activity, which includes loud music.
Young Shreveporters who resented the city shutting down their open-air music venue at Big D's BBQ, corner of Caddo and Common Streets, hoped to hear the mayor propose to update the so-called nuisance laws. It was not to be, despite appeals from venue owner Big D, producer Susan Garner, musician Paul Garner and musician Yockie Joe.
A big picture was provided for the audience by manager Ken Shepherd, who claimed that Kenny Wayne Shepherd's career is run from Shreveport. "I remember when the musicians' union, Local 116, was strong. It enabled players to be paid and paid a decent fee," he said. "Join your union and you'll be able to sit down with the mayor and negotiate from a position of strength."
The gathering was notable for its demographics. There was a central casting aspect to the seeming equal numbers of black and white musicians as well as old and young music types. One under-represented category: females.
Dirtfoot closed the evening with a tricyclatron show on the Barnwell patio, a lovely under-the-stars venue. Yet in the beginning of the jam the musical attendees seemed occupied with discussions of the session with the mayor. Was there a conclusion to be drawn, a plan to be evaluated?
Many seemed to agree with Jerry Beach, who told the mayor that the music-based town meet was, overall, a good thing. Beach said to Glover, "We need to have another one of these, don't you think?"