CLUB VIEWBig Easy Update
By Rocky “DJ Roxx” Bourg
For this New Orleans DJ, life goes on, but will never be the same
Post Katrina. No, it’s not a new breakfast cereal. It’s a status. A constant state of being that I and most everyone I see on a daily basis have found ourselves in since returning to our homes, businesses and lives after one of the biggest natural disasters to hit the United States of America. It is omnipresent. Its tentacles have reached into every crevice and shaken things loose.
Because of this tragedy and through circumstance and God’s grace, I rediscovered and reaffirmed my belief that there are more good people in the world than the nightly news would have you believe. Family that lived in an unaffected area provided us temporary sanctuary. Total strangers, unsolicited and totally unrequested, refused payment for things like an oil change or offered discounts on meals. I had never been on that side of such unselfish, true human kindness. I re-learned what the daily grind and the speed of contemporary life had hidden in its wake: that people are at their best, the most like their creator, when they are thinking of others. I want to be like that more often.
So, with my family safely stationed in Houston, it was time to get down to putting things back together! When I was finally able to return home, unfortunately without my wife, daughters, mother and many friends, I began the arduous task of assessing the damage to three houses, making temporary repairs and beginning the work of rebuilding a life.
I never want to remove wet carpet ever again. And by the way, never submerge and soak an amplifier or speakers in flood waters. It has a terrible effect on the acoustic ability of the gear. But I digress.
After spending several weeks without a single party or wedding at which to perform, and not much celebrating on the horizon, I was glad that I had chosen to be a two-career man. My paralegal gig was relocated to temporary quarters and I was able to get back to some semblance of normalcy; although I’ll never consider a two-hour commute to be normal.
Up to this point I had not even thought about how much I had missed being part of weekly celebrations and providing the soundtrack for special events. I was just glad that most of my gear and music library was safe and I would get back on the wheels, eventually. Prior to Katrina I had managed to build a relatively full calendar of events from August 27, 2005 to late November 2005. Post-Katrina, all those homecoming and school dances, wedding receptions, lucrative mitzvahs and my long running Saint’s tailgate party were gone and that income would never return. But what I was really beginning to miss was rockin’ the crowds, being part of Father-Daughter/Mom-Son dances, playing songs for special people at special moments that they would cherish long after the celebration was over and serving as the medium through which brides, grooms, sons and daughters could express their love and appreciation to those they cherish.
City Slowly Reconnects with Entertainment
A private country club where I was the recommended vendor had suffered major and extensive damage and would be offline for at least a year or longer, and remains so to this day. The population of my city was a fraction of its normal size and many other reception and event venues had also suffered serious damage. The short term outlook was not very promising, especially with the likely and serious reduction in tourist business that New Orleans depends on so heavily. Major conventions and sporting events that generated valuable business for the tourist and entertainment industries, were cancelled and moved. The December 2005 holiday party calendar was OK but nothing like recent years, understandably so. However, none of those effects were as hard to handle or had as great an impact on my business as what was soon to occur.
My friend and most trusted DJ of 15+ years had moved, and after the storm managed to obtain an in-house/recommended DJ position vacated by a Katrina victim who was not returning at a popular reception venue very near his new home but far from my neck of the woods. It was a perfect situation for him, both financially and logistically, and I could not contemplate asking him to sacrifice such a great opportunity. This was the most seriously troubling side effect of the changes forced upon my entertainment business. I was now back to being a single op. But, I just kept focusing on the positive effect it would have for my podnah and how he’d be able to spend more time with his family. Always look for the rainbow, even if it’s still raining.
A Boost from Big Gigs
Maybe it was karma or just blind luck, but after the holiday parties, many of the more high profile venues that, in the past, I had attempted but failed to acquire a working relationship with, began calling and inquiring about my service. I was able to adjust my rate schedule and expect to be as profitable as a single op as I was with two and three systems on the street. I was able to refocus on providing more pre-event service to clients and have seen the positive results of that as well.
My favorite gig, the Semi-Almost World Famous Allegro Bistro Saints tailgate parties returned on September 25, 2006 when the New Orleans Saints injected then withering Nawlins with new hope and resuscitated the spirit of an entire city. I guess it’s true: a new broom sweeps clean. No one, at least no one sober or sane, would or could have predicted the success of the Saints this season. I hope they realize what they have done for this troubled city.
Despite the many hurdles, my disc jockey business has managed to survive and is providing me with new opportunities to exercise my skills, stretch my imagination, and utilize my limited knowledge to grow my business in a less-than-perfect market. But we relish being less than perfect in the Big Easy. Dorothy said it best: “There’s no place like home.”
“Despite the many hurdles, my disc jockey business has managed to survive and is providing me with new opportunities…” – DJ Roxx
Filed Under: Issues from 2006, Profiles
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