Let’s get personal. Let’s get this out the way. Hammond isn’t Baton Rouge. Hammond isn’t New Orleans. Hammond is my home though, even if I am from the capital city.
I’m 25 now and I’ve been away from “home” for seven years. There’s not even anything to go back to anymore, but Hammond, this MOLECURALLY smaller place than I was used to, became everything I needed. Hammond is an art hub and if you aren’t aware then I beg you to flip the stone over and look at the growth that was hiding. Specifically, check out the “garden” that has been growing in The Spot.
I started college at SLU back in 2012. I dropped out in 2014 due to personal matters and after three harsh years, I came back in 2017. Shout out to Steve Schepker and Todd Delaney for pushing me to do it. I’m even back in the radio station with the fantastic and paternal, Mr. Delaney. When I came back to KSLU I wanted to do more than be on-air. I found local music to be a lot more rewarding and closer to my heart. My friends, my favorite Hammondnites, and my partner of 5-years are all in the Hammond music scene so I started talking to Todd about getting local music on air. While my search began with the Hammond rock scene, something even crazier began right in the middle of downtown that none of us ever thought we would see a revival of.
Augustine’s, an old bar on Cate Street, allowed a place for original music to flourish and when it shut down four years ago that was it for Hammond’s music scene. However, Aaron Campbell opened the doors of his home to the public as a music and art venue called The Spot in October 2017. Aaron is a carpenter, entrepreneur, art lover, dog/cat dad, and nostalgia junkie. The Spot was born because Aaron wanted creative people to be able to create together. There was such a lack of an art scene outside of the university. Many people who had graduated or found college was not for them were lacking inspiration, myself included. Aaron gave everyone hope and a place where we felt celebrated and seen. So, we took over his living room.
Numerous musical and art shows have taken place from Aaron’s kitchen to his sunroom. I’ve seen so much at The Spot that it blows my mind that a DIY community is up and thriving. There is a strong sisterhood of women sitting on the steps and swaying to the music, ready to defend each other. There are musicians and artists alike praising, critiquing, and encouraging one another to just keep creating. There are introverts and extroverts galore, all writhing their bodies together to a band playing inside. There is also Aaron and his dog, Junco, walking around and thanking everyone individually for coming. Aaron will feed you hot dogs, provide you shelter, and love you for wanting to be involved in this crazy world he created.
Now that its 2019, many bands have played at The Spot. Some of those are on air here at KSLU and some band members are even KSLU alums. Closest to our hearts though, are our dear friends who have since passed away while helping us build this DIY place. We’ll miss them-Archie Powell, Will McElveen, and David Pines. Thank you to every single person that has ever stepped foot in Aaron’s home. The Spot thrives because of you.
The Spot is closed for the summer months due to renovations, but will continue as a venue in the fall. Check the list below for all of the events, bands, and artists that have been a part of the scene so far.
Byline: Dara Calmes
Dara works as the social media coordinator for KSLU 90.9 FM. She's a talented artist majoring in Art at Southeastern Louisiana University, a music enthusiast, and loving cat mom.