The legislature is now in session, again bringing an opportunity to find funding, leadership or just general aid and assistance for Louisiana's music.
Will it happen? Who knows, but it certainly doesn't look good so far.
Obviously there are large cuts in funding everywhere. Museums will be cut, education, including music, will be cut and there is no budget for music anywhere to be found.
Last year's legislature brought about the demise of the Louisiana Music Commission and the Director of Music was retired. Let's look at that for a minute.
The Commission, by LED's own words had been without a budget and acting "in an advisory capacity only." Well, without a budget, there weren't many options, actually.
The Director had been lacking in positive leadership. One former LMC top assistant blogged "thanking" the director for "directing it (the commission) right into oblivion," while noting that the Chairperson of the commission "supports eliminating it (the commission)." Now that's positive leadership at work.
So, exactly who is steering the ship for Louisiana's music. I've previously written about LED's "holistic" approach to Louisiana's music and there's not much more to be said on that. LED, as other state agencies under the Governor's policy, did not replace the Director, simply adding his title to another director.
LED's own strategic plan calls music, "arguably one of the state’s greatest natural resources," and further stating that it "requires physical and financial resources for producing commercially competitive recorded music - to ensure a thriving indigenous Louisiana music and sound recording sector."
Hopefully, some legislator or legislators with an interest in Louisiana's music will be willing to step forward and find a way to financially address some help to Louisiana's community of musicians and toward creating, finally, a viable music industry in Louisiana.
There is a sleeping giant out there waiting for a wake-up call. First, there is going to have to be a wake-up call to the State of Louisiana to recognize the giant and, then, to buy an alarm clock.
With help, this struggling, would-be industry, could move forward and become the economic engine that it can be. Louisiana's music has been an economic driver for decades, with virtually no help. But, because no one moved forward to sustain this "accidental" industry trying to coalesce, here we sit.
The LMC failed, not because of need or even vision, but, because of leadership. Let's not abandon the ship, yet. Let's find a new way to accomplish what's needed, and new leadership to steer the ship.
Author Mike Shepherd is the President & Executive Director of La Musique de Louisianne Inc., The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame, a 501c3 dedicated to "preserving Louisiana's greatest renewable natural resource" www.LMHOF.org