Jump to navigation
Jim Hayes and Collins Lewis Interview, Part 1
Hayes, Jim; Lewis, Collins
Cramer, Cheryl Q.W.
Topics include: Culture in Treme surrounding music and vendors on wagons, politicians never on the side of the music, music as a lifestyle. Sound cuts out at the beginning.
Lewis and Hayes discuss the vegetable vendors in the Tremé area. They would start selling their items at 6am and come home at 6pm after selling everything on their wagons. One vendor, Mr. Brock, wouldn't yell or sing but he would blow his horn and people knew to come out. There were also coal sellers on wagons, and along with the vegetable vendors, they would rent their wagons from a station on Bienville and Roman St. In regard to politics in Tremé, the political system never considered music and the musicians, unless it was bringing in tourism and they could benefit from it. In 1950, there was a plan to destroy the area's music and history by tearing down 8 square blocks of night clubs and music centers. This was done under the Moon Landrieu administration and destroyed the culture of the people whose lives were so centered around music. Hayes and Lewis say that this is still going on now. They could not think of any politician who cared about music, they all tried to destroy it. They would also push second-line clubs out of the neighborhood by forcing them to have permits they could not afford. The marching clubs they mention were the Jolly Bunch and the Money Wasters. They stress that music is what the people survived on. One could wake up and hear the second-line passing, so you would go outside as you were getting dressed and listen. People would stand out and listen for hours, drinking wine, smoking weed, and sweating in the 100-degree heat. Hayes also recalls taking music classes in the afternoons while in elementary school with Mrs. Martin, and he has been singing ever since. Lewis and Hayes also mention that some visitors would come and exploit the bands by taking pictures and videos and selling them. One of them remembers walking on 31st Street and seeing a large, colorful book in a store. After getting a closer look, it was full of images of Mardi Gras Indians and was being sold for forty-five dollars. Then signs were put up prohibiting photography and videos. They explain music as being a way of survival. People could express joy and pain, and everyone could enjoy the sounds. Second-line season was from August to December, and some people lived for this season.
Politics and government
Amistad Research Center
Box 1, Item 4, Side 1, Treme Oral History Project collection, 1993-1994, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.