102304toughkid.jpgThe kid played in a street band on a corner in the French Quarter of New Orleans. They played for whatever change tourists would drop into a guitar case on the sidewalk.

At 15, the kid already looked world-weary and ready to take on all comers. Like most street kids, he grew up fast and tough.

I photographed him and interviewed him in New Orleans in 1988. He talked the language of the streets but also talked of using his music to escape the streets. He hoped his music would take him to New York or Los Angeles. Either place meant escape from the streets.

In 1993, I returned to New Orleans and found the band still playing the streets of the French Quarter but the kid wasn’t on drums. Maybe he had escaped.

The lead guitarist said no. Shortly after I shot this picture in 1988, the kid lay dead on the streets of New Orelans, caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting.