Slewfoot, New Orleans Street Musician

“Slewfoot,” playing his blues on the Mississippi Riverwalk in New Orleans.

Mixed Media, Acrylic on wood.

Size: 9” x 7” x 1.5” deep

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This original woodblock painting depicts street musician “Slewfoot,” AKA Mark “Mickey” McLaughlin doing what he loved best. The wood block measures 9″ x 7″ x 1.5” and can be hung on the wall or displayed on a shelf. The words “Slewfoot” and “New Orleans Street Musician” are painted on the sides, and his April 2011 obituary appears on the back.

I first met Mickey in 1985 when I was 19. I had hitch-hiked from my home state of Maine to New Orleans and first spotted him playing in the doorway of an antique shop on Royal Street in the French Quarter. As a blues fanatic, I’d studied many artists in the genre, but I’d never heard anyone play like him. He made a deep impression. A couple of years later, I was living in Durham, NC, and he was playing at Halby’s Delicatessen. I recognized him immediately.

Slewfoot didn’t remember meeting me on the street in New Orleans, but he became my close friend and music mentor. We played music together at bars, parties, and small festivals all around NC for several years. He was the real deal—one of the most authentic and interesting bluesmen I’ve ever met. He played the blues his way, and it was definitely THE BLUES. He had a hard life with many challenges, but he also had a heart of gold.


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