JD Hill is one of the folks who helped keep alive the New Orleans Blues tradition, and is considered one of the best blues Harmonica players in the bsuiness. A resident of the 9th Ward, he lost his home during Hurricane Katrina, along with a lot of other folks. As part of the propaganda effort to show America how the Bushit cared about New Orleans, JD was allowed to buy a house in Musician’s Village in the upper 9th Ward, followed by a well publicized visit by the the Bushit…
When I last met JD nearly three years ago, he was the proud owner of a new, bright blue house; the first to be built in New Orleans’ newly-established Musicians’ Village.
The community, for struggling artists who had lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina, grabbed plenty of attention.
President Bush even came to put the finishing touches to JD’s house, earning himself – and his wife Laura – a free concert in the living room.
Sitting on his porch under a blazing Cajun sun, JD showed me the photos of that impromptu presidential performance.
Smiling through a jaw that was broken in a street attack (he was left for dead after a robbery attempt. “It was three kids on a bike who wanted $5, ” Hill said. “They broke my jaw on each side, and now I have a metal chin.”), he reflected on the reaction he had got to that unusual concert.
“Yeah, he was all ‘buddy, buddy’. They said I was shaking hands with the devil… but he’s alright”
But JD is not.
He may have been given a roof over his head, but he has been finding it hard to get work.
He tells me he is having trouble paying the mortgage and fears that he could be facing foreclosure. (His monthly house note has increased about $200, and he’s having trouble landing local gigs.)
The city is hot, but his water has been cut off.
“I’ve been using my neighbour’s water hose to take a bath,” he laments. “It’s embarrassing.”
A little more of that… “Can’t Do It All By Myself”