Leave it to New Orleans to create an unusual collabo for unemployed artists

When Devin De Wulf, band leader of New Orleans’ Krewe of Red Beans, realized how Covid-19 was devastating the city’s residents, he felt he had to help. As someone entrenched in Nola’s arts scene, he knew where to start: by connecting people who’d lost their jobs with others who needed their labor. The Krewe’s mission went from parading during Mardi Gras to hiring out-of-work musicians to deliver food to frontline workers. It eventually had them grocery shop for the elderly before creating the Hire a Mardi Gras Artist program, which matched struggling float designers with homeowners wanting to go all out for Carnival season, turning their houses’ exteriors into lavish displays worthy of the city’s colorful reputation. Though Red Beans’ biggest achievement was raising $2 million for its efforts, De Wulf takes pride in paying everyone a fair wage and elevating those around him. “The common thread is that the people are what makes New Orleans so magical,” he told Food & Wine.

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