MPU New Orleans Brickyard presents Louis Michot, a local musician who led LA through times of crisis

New Orleans, LA

Matt Dembowski   |   January 09, 2024

+MPU is a nationwide movement to strengthen our communities and heal our country by creating meaningful connections through service and leadership. So, what does music have to do with that?

Join us this Friday, January 12, at The Rabbit Hole to find out! +More Perfect Union’s New Orleans Brickyard will be hosting an event with Louis Michot to pull people together and illuminate that there is more that unites than divides them. The food served will be locally sourced from coastal, rural Louisiana communities; the music will blend traditional sounds with modern acoustics; and there will be both French and English lyrics. Uniting us all will be the need to pass a good time, break bread with our fellow humans, embrace our differences, and realize that it creates one heck of a gumbo.

Louis Michot will be there to discuss some of the on-the-ground work that he’s led during times of crisis (and calm) here in Louisiana. His efforts have garnered attention from national media outlets, including “Rolling Stone,” who conducted an interview with him after Hurricane Ida hit the region in 2021. In the feature, Louis dove into how he raised $10,000 in 24 hours, the importance of solar energy along the Gulf Coast, and bringing our community together by meeting people where they’re at with what they need.

As a touring musician and performer, Louis Michot is used to interacting with people. His art provides them the outlets they crave, serving as a conduit through which emotions flow. It probably goes without saying that it was all particularly necessary following the life-altering 2020 pandemic.

After Hurricane Ida made landfall, the needs of the community were much more acute. Louis was among the first people to respond. He traded in his fiddle and accordion for a cell phone and hammer and got to work. Enlisting his personal network, Louis brought relief to the people who needed it most.

In a way, he serves as a bridge between urban and rural communities. From his studio outside of Lafayette, Louis creates music that serves as an ambassador of Cajun French culture to the world. Much like the gumbo served in Louisiana kitchens, a theme of Louis’ music is inclusivity. That’s why you see names such as Bombino (Niger), Leyla McCalla (New York/Haiti), Quintron (New Orleans), Sharde Thomas (of the Rising Star Drum & Fife Band from Como, Mississippi), and Corey Ledet, a Black Zydeco musician, lending their talents to his music. His latest album, “Rêve du Troubadour,” is a testament to the tapestry that can be created with this diversity. Louis welcomes and fosters it.

As recounted in Andy Horowitz’s feature in ”Rolling Stone,” Louis shared:

I was seeing all these people on Twitter like, “I’m in LaPlace, we’re on the roof, I can’t find my grandma, here’s my address.” Posting addresses on Twitter — I’m getting chills just thinking about it. I wanted to go help out.
So here I am, a musician who’s been out of work mostly, pulling every diverse skill, trade, job, record label and everything I have together to make it for the last 20 months. My brother Andre has been building accordions to get by. We don’t have much to give financially, but we have time and skills. It just hit me, and I did it right then: I posted on social media with my record label, Nouveau Electric, I said, I’m going to mobilize, going to help some people out, here’s my Venmo if you want to donate. And within the first few hours I had $3,000. By the time 24 hours rolled around, we had $10,000.
We filled every gas can we could find. I brought stacks of 2x4s. I got a bunch of tarps. We had rolls of roof rap, nails, screws, paper towels, water, diapers, tampons, band-aids, acetaminophen. I mean, people need basic things. My friend Brandon, he goes by B-Boy, has a barbecue business – Brandon’s Backyard Barbecue. He came too and brought pork steaks and boudin and rabbit bacon, which is one of his specialties. It’s actually a bacon-wrapped carrot. We went straight to AJ’s house in downtown Houma, started tarping his roof, while B-Boy lit the pit.
The first lady that pulled up, she asked, “What are y’all doing?” And I said, “What do you need? Do you need some water? Do you need some gas?” And she just started crying. She said, “I’m trying to take care of my mama, and she can’t eat canned food because of the salt and her legs will swell up, and we need water,” and she just started crying. We loaded her up, gave her some gas, gave her some barbecue. It just went on like that all day.
And this whole time I have people messaging me, texting me, from all walks of life. All day and night. A guy texted me, “I have 190 gallons of gas. I’m driving down from Arkansas, where can I go?” I said, “Go to LaPlace.” I just sent $1,000 to a person on Instagram who was organizing a similar mutual aid team in LaPlace. All this communicating, sending money to people I’ve never met.

Louis’ leadership shows us that regardless of where people live, be it urban or rural, they need help when it matters most.