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The truth is in music: The Steve Baum story


Musical instruments on a background of New Orleans (Photos and collage by: Steve Baum)

Steve Baum graduated back in 1967 from Ben Franklin, and while he was working academically, he was also tooting his clarinet in the McMain band. Then he spent a couple years working with his mentor at Richard Patrick Studio, which ran the in-house photo studio at Maison Blanche. On a whim, Steve applied to the newly created NYU Film Department. He’s been at it ever since — graduating as a filmmaker, making commercial videos and documentaries. He’s also a hardcore traveler stumbling among the ruins, taking pictures and video from Bali, Borneo, Patagonia, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia and Nepal to the Inca Trail. His passions ooze into all kinds of projects, such as the new website, which he co-created and focuses around Mothers and Daughters connecting in the kitchen.

Music is still a major passion, and he’s currently taking harmonica lessons from a dude in Wales over Skype! He went to Lafayette in 2017 and, armed with his trusty harmonica, sat in at the Blue Moon Saloon for the Wednesday Jam. No matter how long he’s been gone or how far he’s traveled, NOLA is home; the quality of the music in the bars and clubs and on the streets still amazes him.

A couple of trips ago, he was so taken with the music on the streets of the French Quarter (where he once lived) that the idea hit him to take pictures of the instruments shot against NOLA backdrops — a pair of drumsticks languishing against dark green shutters, a crusty old guitar hanging on the stoop of a shotgun house, a washboard, all texture in contrast to a red brick background, a golden trumpet sitting proudly before an old plaster wall. But how does a complete stranger walk away with a musician’s instrument to toddle around the Quarter looking for a cool backdrop? Well, just give him your credit card, Baum says.

“YOU DID WHAT?!” I asked.

Yes, he did. I wonder if that could be done in NYC?

One true thing is that for people like Steve, music is family; you can run to New York City and far beyond, but the music, it’s there lodged in the heart forever.


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