Walter Pierce

'Net roots growing wild: Jazz funeral for arts set

by Walter Pierce

Momentum is building in Internet chat rooms and elsewhere by supporters of the arts against a potentially fatal blow to funding proposed by the Jindal administration, which wants to cut state funding of the arts by 83 percent.

In a widely distributed invitation on, a gathering of what’s described merely as “concerned citizens” will conduct a jazz funeral for the arts Wednesday in downtown Baton Rouge. According to the invitation, “mourners” will gather at 11:30 a.m. in Lafayette Park across from the Shaw Center for the Arts. At high noon, the melancholy procession will march down Third Street and Spanishtown Road and end at Capital Grocery.

The show of solidarity for Louisiana’s so-called “cultural economy,” which, by many accounts, is second only to energy in its contribution to the state’s overall economy, is just the latest example of mounting outrage among arts supporters following the announcement of the proposed slash to Decentralized Arts Funding. Arts councils around the state are also joining forces to fight the proposal.