Valley photographer Jim Louvau was playing with his toddler daughter Mars when he saw a little bruise on her back.
He took notice of it and continued to watch it surface and swell. Startled, he and his wife Marissa took Mars to the doctor. Initially the physicians couldn’t agree on a diagnosis, but when they did, it wasn’t good. It was leukemia.
“They did the biopsy and within 5 minutes of them testing it, they said it was leukemia,” Louvau says. “It was rough. That was on May 21, 2019, and our lives have not been the same since.”
The Louvaus have health insurance, but there are plenty of copays for appointments, medication and testing left uncovered. With the help of Club Red, Louvau is hosting a benefit with his former band Victims in Ecstasy and his current band There is No Us, along with Opiate for the Masses, N17 and Sipping Soma on Saturday, March 28.
“For the most part, all of the bands who are on the show haven’t been active for quite some time,” Louvau says. “When I first started toying around with the idea of putting something together, I didn’t really want to do a reunion because it’s something I did 20 years ago. It feels very foreign at this point. I’m not the same person. I’ve done a lot of things musically since then.
“But I thought if I could get other bands to reunite, it would make sense.”
Louvau admits he was initially uncomfortable, too, to ask for help.
“I typically don’t like to ask for help, no matter what,” Louvau says. “In this case, the promoter at Club Red, Kim LaRowe, asked about a benefit as soon as the news broke that my daughter was sick.
“At that point, I was just so overwhelmed with the news that I couldn’t think about music. I knew it was going to be quite some time before I was going to be in any position to rehearse with my own current music. The idea of reaching out to all of these people and making this whole thing happen seemed super overwhelming. Once I started reaching out, though, I thought, ‘This is a no brainer.’”
Louvau has a special connection to N17, who played a vital role in his formative years. He learned of the industrial metal band as a student at Glendale’s Ironwood High School when he just picked up a camera.
“The first concert photos I took in the 11th and 12th grades were N17,” he says. “I was fortunate enough to become friends with those guys. We all know how valuable that is when you’re trying to really share different sides of a band or an artist.
“I wasn’t even old enough to go to a bar. I went to their band practice and I saw how hard they worked. It taught me what we had to do to be in a band. It was a blueprint for us to go off of when we were starting. It was like a big brother thing.”
As for Mars, who turns 3 on March 7, she’s doing great, Louvau says. The family is following a 2 1/2-year treatment roadmap.
“We’re working through it and doing the best we can,” says Louvau, as Mars cries for “Charlie Brown” videos. “The outlook is positive. We’re experiencing something that no parent or kid should have to deal with. It’s been nothing short of difficult.”
Louvau has also raised funds through his photographs. Musicians and the photography community have been supportive.
“I’m thankful,” says Louvau, whose wife works in the service industry. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and meet a lot of people along the way who have been really helpful.
“I’m giving people something back that they’re excited about, whether it’s art for their homes or going to a show they never thought would happen. That’s really cool. If I hadn’t been doing all the things I had been doing, we would be in more of a 9-to-5 family situation. We’re just not that family. I never wanted to be those people.”
N17 w/Opiate for the Masses, Victims in Ecstacy, Sipping Soma, There Is No Us
Club Red, 1306 W. University Drive, Mesa, 480.200.7529, clubredrocks.com, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 28, $17-$20.