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Nola Son Bucket Drummer or A Son Who Needs To Be Saved

I was going through pictures and came across this one. I want this picture to be a shot taken from a Sprite commercial, capturing the young Nola son quenching his thirst after proudly showcasing his talent to a captivated crowd, but it’s not what my mind envisions.

Although it captures Nola at it rawest, the soul of a talented Nola native with a creative mind made drums out of buckets. A local hustling to make a few dollars by playing his music, instead of criminal activity. A local artist that will perform on the street, hoping for a big break. This picture can be all these beautiful things, but it has me worried about this young boy, Nola Bucket Drum Player. He’s on the streets of New Orleans playing for a few coins, hopefully, dollars, but for what?

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My son started playing sports in elementary school, and an effort for the team to raise funds needed for uniforms, tournaments, etc, there were fundraisers. Most of the fundraisers required the young athletes to solicit through offering a small service in return, such as bagging groceries. The coaches and a few parents were there overseeing the kids and collect the money afterward. It taught the boys to work ethic and service.

He can’t be out there entertaining the public to pay bills, nor does it look like he is fundraising to support an after school activity. I can’t imagine that his mother would send her son into the streets of New Orleans for a few dollars. She has to know that it’s not safe for him, not even in the daytime.

I have been known to give a few dollars to panhandlers who have a witty sign or showing their talent, but I’m unsure how to feel about supporting this little boy in this manner.

All over the world, the child sex trafficking rate has significantly increased. I’m hoping this picture did not capture that. Just this week there were a few arrests in New Orleans. We may cross paths with children who are victims of trafficking. Some children need to be rescued, and we often pretend to be blind, because we think they are runaways who want street life. The statistics are mind-numbing. Of the 6,800 runaways reported in Louisiana each year, two-thirds will be approached by a pimp within the first 48 hours of being on the streets. Frequently, these children are often arrested and thrown in jail, where they get no treatment for their psychological trauma.

I’ll try to trick my mind into thinking he is a Nola Son performing in front of a filming crew for Coke Cola, which produces Sprite and he has both bottles. He’s drinking the Sprite because it’s caffeine-free and it quenches thirsts. Yes, that’s it, because it certainly can not be a little 9-10yr old boy, on the streets of New Orleans, drumming on buckets for a few dollars, unsupervised and if he is the adult will take his earnings and do who knows what to this innocent child… Either way, I soon forget about him, and my life will go on without worrying about him, while he and other children like him are lost to the streets…

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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