It’s kind of weird being the only “reporter” to cover the attempted regeneration of the formerly amputated government appendage that was/is the Louisiana Music Commission. Since they’re working on a new vision for the agency, commission members, staff and contracted help (Jerry Goolsby of Loyola) recently held a retreat at Dockside Studio in Milton, south of Lafayette, a wonderful place run by my friends Steve & Wishy Nails. Of course, despite my obvious desire to contribute, I wasn’t invited–and neither were you, because the LMC continues to do minimal Public Notice.
It’s not entirely their fault. The law that was so misleadingly called the “Sunshine Law” was passed many years ago to ensure that public bodies make their meetings known so participatory democracy will live up to our expectations. Of course, because politicians crafted the legislation (see it here) they set the “standards” rather low for “open meetings.” To follow the law, a notice must be placed on the door of the “publicly accessible” meeting room 24 hours in advance. So, unless you happen to be in or around the building at which a meeting is to take place, I guess it’s just too bad.
Of course, if you were able to be in the know and actually attend LMC meetings, they’d then be duly bound to give the you the opportunity to speak, for the law says that boards “shall provide an opportunity for public comment at such meeting, subject to reasonable rules, regulations, and restrictions as adopted by the public body.” Evidently the folks in charge only want select input, for few have been invited. And other than commissioners and economic development employees, basically nobody knows about the meetings.
That’s not how Ellis Marsalis, Bernie Cyrus and I did it. We posted notice on the home page of the LMC website, notified the press and even bought classified ads. In fact, not only did we do it prominently; but, we had a special section of the website’s Welcome page dedicated to meeting notices. Additionally, we showcased Louisiana music businesses, debuted products and projects and in general encouraged attendance by the public and by music activists. Of course, the current LMC could do this, but first they’d need a website, and a desire to have the public participate. Oh, and maybe a budget would help–not that we had a budget for the site. We (mostly me) did it in-house.
According to the little bit of information leaking out of the LMC retreat, a website is planned. Hope they launch it before the next governor is sworn-in.
So, it’s only been 2+ years since the loss of louisianamusic.org and buylouisianamusic.com, the domains the current administration let expire after 8 years. However, though the Blanco folks tossed the site into the digital abyss, its archives and links can still be found. Thanks to the foresight of a the Internet Archive, lost sites like louisianamusic.org live on.
The Internet Archive Wayback Machine at archive.org, (a library of digital archives and websites that is growing by 20 terabytes a month), has a search feature that brings the original LMC site back to life. So, if you want to see what kind of website we had (please forgive the dullness, I have no graphic design skills), just type louisianamusic.org into the Wayback Machine and you’ll see archived versions of the site in its entirety. Though these pages do not show up in common search engines like Google or Yahoo!, once you click on a date, you can navigate the whole site and see how much history, how many links and how much work was thrown away.
After posting literally millions of words about so many seemingly important subjects, it’s nice to know somewhere deep in the bowels of the Internet, louisianamusic.org can still be found. Perhaps someday, someone will want to tell the story of the Amusement Tax, once the most dreaded and hated impediment to music in the state, or maybe someone will research the history of the LMC. If so, then thanks to archive.org, lost words will be resurrected, lost thoughts reconnected and lost issues re-examined.