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Renard Poche, a 40-year veteran guitarist also from New Orleans, said he noticed a slight slowdown in business shortly after the storm that appears to have since normalized. Even with that hiccup, he said, he barely felt it because most of his playing time is spent outside the city.
For the past two years, he’s been performing with pianist Allen Toussaint and only a handful of dates are usually played in the city. “The majority of my income is from the road,” he said.
That kind of road exposure and being featured in shows like “Treme” or on late night talk shows can only help the city’s comeback, Thomas said.
“People may not be aware that the musician they’re hearing is from New Orleans or that they got their start in New Orleans,” she said. “But that kind of exposure, for them and the city, is priceless. And when we’re represented in the national spotlight, it just shows that New Orleans as a whole is a city of survivors.”
Ramsey said it’s unexplainable how the city’s culture and style are so well nurtured and loved all over the world.
“Anywhere you go, there’s something in another city that caters to New Orleans, be it food or music,” he said.
Thomas acknowledges Katrina forever changed the city.
“We’ll never be the same, but we will go down fighting to keep the same atmosphere, the same energy, that we’ve had for generations,” she said. “If that’s maintained, we’ll be alright.”
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