After witnessing the arrest of local brass band musician Eugene Grant by New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers last night and seeing the immediate community response, musician Zena Moses created a Facebook group to organize local musicians to prevent a similar incident from occurring again.
Moses told Gambit she created the group, called Voices of Local New Orleans Musicians, to bring musicians together to work with band members, venues, city officials and NOPD to implement policies that are beneficial to all parties to "preserving the culture."
A video that went viral on Facebook shows NOPD responding to a noise complaint on the corner of by Frenchmen Art & Books Chartres and Frenchmen streets and arresting Grant.
NOPD spokesman Andy Cunningham said in a statement that Grant was arrested "for obstructing public passages and resisting an officer."
Video of an altercation between Frenchmen Street brass band musicians and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) last night has gone viral.
"Suggestions and ideas to move forward in not allowing what happened to fellow musician, Eugene Grant known as Lil Gene, to happen to any of us!!," Moses wrote on a post on the page. "We are tired and disgusted that our city, this city, think of us as criminals and our instruments weapons. No more policing the music. We need policies in place to protect our well-being of life."
Musician Jenelle Roccaforte said she is talking with the brass band with whom Grant plays to organize a protest in response to the arrest on Sunday and will create a Facebook group once she determines a time for the protest.
Moses said she wants policies in place that will protect musicians' safety, who often are out late playing gigs.
“We get off gigs at 4 a.m., and there’s no police presence to make sure we get to our cars safely," she said.
"Until we are in this together, the abuse will continue and this New New Orleans will be nothing like our ancestors intended," she wrote.
“Musicians are the one that enhance the culture," Moses told Gambit, but if policies do not change she fears that "after a while, there won’t be live music."