Blues legend’s shoes featured at Love & Roses Gala

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NEW ORLEANS — Little Freddie King is known for his unique fashion sense, which draws eyes to the local blues legend whenever he takes the stage. Now, his style is calling attention to sex trafficking victims.

Artist Tami Curtis has created works of art using some of Little Freddie’s signature shoes. The artwork will be auctioned at the Love and Roses Gala hosted by Free NOLA, a fundraiser to help sex trafficking victims who want to leave the lifestyle.

“I was reading on Facebook and–you know he has those amazing signature Little Freddie shoes–that he is retiring a couple of pairs,” says Curtis. “I started thinking, ‘Oh, I could do something with those.’ So, I reached out and said, ‘Little Freddie, can I have those shoes?’ And he said, ‘Sure, come on over and I will give you some more pairs!'”

Curtis says she and Little Freddie first met at Jazz Fest years ago and became Facebook friends. She has featured the blues artist in her work before, including in a poster for the French Quarter Fest.

This time, her Little Freddie artwork will be part of an auction Friday night, at the Love and Roses Gala, 7:00 p.m., at the Pontchartrain Yacht Club in Mandeville. Other works of art will be part of the auction, including a shirt signed by Irma Thomas with art by Curtis. And, Little Freddie King donated one of his guitars with his autograph.

Diane Amos is the executive director of Free NOLA, which provides outreach to sex trafficking victims and operates a safe house for those who want to leave the lifestyle. She says Free NOLA’s safe house is necessary because sex trafficking victims face unique challenges.

“Women that come off of the streets and out of the sex industry are traumatized,” says Amos. “They have PTSD, severe trauma, and to put them in any other facility at that particular time just would not work for them.”

She says some women in the sex industry get trapped and do not see a way out. That’s where Free NOLA steps in.

“It’s like somebody coming out of jail,” says Amos. “You need a transition period coming out of jail because, if not, you are going to go back to the same lifestyle that you had before you went in jail.”

She says Free NOLA’s safe house is one of very few that are specifically designed to meet the needs of adult-aged sex trafficking victims.

The Love and Roses Gala raises money to help Free NOLA’s mission. It will have live and silent auctions, food, drink, and fun. An expert will present a talk on sex trafficking.

More information and tickets are available on the Free NOLA website.

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