The Buskers of New Orleans

The Buskers of New Orleans

People busk all over the place “cruising as pirates” in nearly every nook and cranny of the Vieux Carré and Faubourg Marigny. Although much of this area now resembles a Disney-themed park, outsiders reclaim space for their own individualized uses while taking full advantage of the sustainable habitat the Vieux Carré and Faubourg Marigny provides for buskers and street entertainers of all sorts. Some people busk to survive, while others do it to supplement their meager poverty wages earned working in the New Orleans tourist industry. Still others busk to avoid the bore of mainstream, nine-to-five jobs. Interestingly, many of the hipsters from white middle class families moving to New Orleans rely on welfare-for-the-poor programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, while busking to avoid working jobs in the legal economy. Some people busk, as in the case of many brass bands in New Orleans, as a starting point to launch their careers in the local, and if they’re lucky, international music industry. Buskers develop a particular skill to take to the streets. Buskers busk poetry, music of almost every possible genre, art, tarot cards and palm reading, miming, juggling, freeze posing, politics, tap-dancing, shticks such as “dog in the coffin,” comedy, and so on. Let’s stroll New Orleans streets to peek into busker life:

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