It was a hot and humid day. One thunderstorm would roll in and leave and after a few hours another would come to replace it. My second trip to New Orleans I came prepared with my camera looking out for all the scenes of life in this historic town that I could wander upon. Down this block I heard rhythmic clapping. As I came in closer to the source I found two boys creating syncopated beats with metal plates attached to their worn sneakers – definitely a twist to the more formal style – dancing for tips. As much as I enjoyed their performance I was amazed at their effort. There’s a special hustle spirit in someone who will endure not only a marathon of spontaneous dance routines, but do so in the early summer humidity of the Big Easy (as the city has been affectionately called over time). I looked over at the small amount of, mostly, singles that had gathered in their “tip box,” considered the sparse clusters of onlookers and wondered how these young, dark skinned boys were truly regarded. It occurred to me that in this moment these boys may have been aware of such, but were too busy giving all they got to the performance to let it deflate their hustle.
I dropped a few dollars into their take and smiled walking away knowing those two boys were probably bigger survivors than me.