Cultural Workers Matter: Louisiana's cultural workers make up the second largest job cluster in the state. Unfortunately, too many earn low wages and have little or no insurance. See how one of our partners is making a difference.
June 08, 2012
The Mid South is known the world over for its contribution of talent to literature, art, sports and music. And while the region is just beginning to understand how this rich culture can improve its economy, many of those working in the cultural industry--musicians, artists, and those in the restaurant business--are low-wage and seasonal employees without health insurance or with inadequate coverage.
Andy Cornett was a lifelong Louisiana musician and enjoyed touring and playing with his band. When he fell on hard times and needed open heart surgery, the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation was there to help him, ensuring he received the operation. Afterward, Andy went into a deep depression, preventing him from reuniting with his band and earning an income.
“Through our Behavioral Health Pilot Program funded by the Foundation for the Mid South, we were able to reach out to the local Acadia/Vermilion Hospital facility for in-depth day group-patient therapy,” said Jackie Richard, Development Director of LCEF.
Through the pilot program, Andy received therapy services at a reduced rate of 90%. After two months of daily group therapy, he was on stage again with his band.
Andy Cornett recently passed, leaving behind his band and his family. The Behavioral Health Pilot Program and the LCEF has offered bereavement counseling to Andy’s family.
There are nearly 150,000 cultural workers like Andy in Louisiana, making the cultural sector the second largest job cluster behind life sciences (e.g. health/ hospitals). Over half of these workers are located in southeast Louisiana with most in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
The economy of Louisiana is only as strong as its employees; and cultural workers are a very important part of the equation, but research shows they are often slow to seek mental health services. To overcome this obstacle, LCEF began raising awareness by hosting medical screenings in nontraditional venues, such as restaurants before hours, backstage before performances and at festivals.
Along with a number of partners like South East Community Health Systems, Acadia/Vermillion Behavioral Hospital, and a host of social workers, the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation is protecting the states valuable cultural assets and ensuring people are physically and mentally well and able to earn a living.Return to News