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…