Children,  Community,  Human services,  Life,  New Orleans,  Non-fiction,  Photography,  Youth

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?


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…

Native of New Orleans, who endured 20yrs cruel Minnesota Cold, I decided at 42yrs old it was time to pack up my then 6yr old and come back to my roots. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a preterm 2lb baby girl born with a disability. With the help of my mother who had her own struggles. We survived the obstacles laid before us. I'm the proud mother of three children with two failed adoptions, as well as a grandmother of three, two grandsons and a granddaughter. I survived two abusive marriages. I successfully ran a soulfood restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I started 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.  I put my all into my cake business over the years as House of Cakes was started right out of my house in honor of him. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, foster/adoptive mother at that, being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me in a sense; but most of it poisoned my heart and soul. I had a broken heart and 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'm loving 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'm down in the boot, but I know I have a nice floppy hat awaiting my destiny...

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