I have seen quite a few street musicians in the United States, but nowhere else as many as in New Orleans, in the streets surrounding Bourbon Street. New Orleans surprised me as a city where nothing is allowed. No pictures in the souvenir stores, no pictures of street musicians without a donation, no listening without one, no nothing. Visiting the touristy places quite often it seems that a street musician plucking an instrument in the corner might give a certain aura to the place. But every time I feel like donating a dollar, I remember how I feel at home. At home where I live in the middle of the historical center, and every morning in the summer I am waken up at 8 am by nasty sounds of flute, kokle (the national Latvian instrument) or trumpet, whichever musician has gotten to the good spot first and intends on keeping it until the evening. And so they blow and whistle, plug and, on worst occasions, sing, at best, three songs. On very unfortunate days I am stuck with “Kur tu teci gailīti” (another Latvian traditional song) or thirty second fragment from The Magic Flute on repeat for five or more hours.
Seeing another person in New Orleans with a hat collecting the donations from everyone who is just passing by holding a smartphone in their hands or photo camera, I do feel like leaving quickly.