My wife and I love street entertainers. Many of our travel decisions are based on where the best chances are of encountering these very talented people. So far no place has proven better than New Orleans. The French Quarter is filled with gifted artist and we try to never pass by without putting some folding money in their cup or guitar case.
A friend of mine recently posted a YouTube video of a young singer-guitar player performing on the streets of some unidentified city. The kid was great but there weren’t nearly enough people putting their dollars and coins in his cup. At the end of the video viewers had offered various written opinions and one stated that, “Street entertainers are just beggars with covers.”
Well, I just want to take exception to that. Far as I’m concerned these people are working, and not always under the most pleasant of circumstances. They are providing some quality to our lives and that is their job. It’s what they love to do and they are doing it in a venue I just happened to find myself in for a brief few seconds. But those brief seconds are made richer by their presence and having something to smile about is certainly worth a few coins.
Beggars don’t brighten or enrich our lives, they just take and then make us feel uncomfortable when we give because we always question if we’re really helping or just being fleeced. Street performers never make us feel that way when we pony up a buck and listen to them belt out a Sonny Boy Williams number on an old harmonica.