Our city thrives on the French Quarter, yet the people who make it run day to day–the bartenders, hotel staff, tour guides–are often overlooked. Join us for a panel discussion on what it takes to make it in the Quarter. Moderated by Aziza Bayou, the panel will feature mule carriage driver Sandra Holliman; Michelle Mueller of Jazzed Up Tours; Gee Foley, an assistant manager at Banana Courtyard; Thomas Proctor, a lead server from Brennan’s; artist Russell Gore, who sells his jewelry in the French Market; Carol and Jack Siekkinen, owners of the Hemmerling Art Gallery; and Robert Watters, Director of the French Quarter Business Association. Join us for what promises to be a fascinating discussion!6-8:30 pm Wednesday September 16,2015Chris Owens Club 500 Bourbon Street
There is a place called Jackson Square which there’s no place like it in the whole of the United States, except in Europe. Actually there is a place where like, as an artist, you don’t have to be in a gallery. You can get a license from the City, and you can sell all the places you want to. It’s first come, first served, in this square, called Jackson Square. The city of New Orleans is a tourist city, so most artists, that’s how they make their living. I’ve been doing this for four years. I don’t have to work for anybody. I pay my food and I pay my bed.
In New Orleans, the culture is very vibrant. I’m talking in terms of an artist, as an artist, you know. It’s a very inspirational city from an artist’s position. The people, you know, it’s like you pull different kind of people from all over this country, people from New York, Chicago, Caribbean, African, you put them in one place, and you get the kind of feelings you get in New Orleans. I think, I guess I can describe it in one word. I like the culture. It’s a very vibrant culture.
Originally I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa. I went to high school in Nigeria, and I went to college in Paris, France. Since I left France, I came to this country; I lived in New York for some time. I lived in Boston, and Boston is the best city that I like. From Boston — I lived in Boston for five years — from Boston I moved to Denver. While I was in Denver, I was in my art part time and I was working part-time. Actually, the reason I came to New Orleans, like most of the people that buy art from me, focus always on jazz. Most of the people that buy art from me, have been to New Orleans, they always say you should go to New Orleans, good for your art, go to New Orleans. So four years ago, I went to New Orleans to visit, and I was like, “Wow, this is where I need to be.” I wandered about New Orleans. When I first moved here, at first it reminds me of Paris, it reminds me of Paris. It’s just very European.