Tuesday, May 3, 2011

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD; Hubba Hubba Tattoo vs Noise Fest 7

An open letter to Hubba Hubba Tattoo:
Dear Joe & Cassandra;

I understand that you guys have a problem with the
Annual Noisefest, held at the home of Michael
Patrick Welch, his lovely wife, Morgana,
their child, and of course, Chauncey the Goat.
And from my knowledge of the area, I'm guessing
your back yards adjoin, at least to some degree.
I understand that this may all seem strange to you.
Or at least, 'different'.
Of course it is.

Welcome to New Orleans.

First, let me say that the performers at this event
are not merely 'some neighborhood kids' making a lot
of noise, but a stellar group of performers known
city wide & beyond.

Ratty Scurvics is renowned locally, nationally &
abroad for his inventive and otherworldly performances,
as is his dad, New Orleans legend Vince Vance.

The Original Noisefest was founded by the late Keith Moore,
also local son of a famous & legendary New Orleans
musician, Deacon John Moore.

The remaining roster, too long to go in to here,
is a veritable who's who of New Orleans musical
artists, from Ray Bong & Rob Cambre, both
renowned for their ambient sonic art, to Mr Quintron,
who is appreciated locally AND at the Smithsonian
Institute, DJ Tracheotomy, Cellist Helen
Gillet, and a new performance on crystal bowls
(how loud can that be?) including Josh Cohen,
legendary front man for the epically famous local
phenomenon, Morning 40 Federation.

While having this event next door to you for 8 hours,
once every year, could be seen as challenging,
think of those of us who have had Mardi
Gras descend on us, year after year, and still manage
to enjoy it for all it's messy fun.

There in lies the issue, I guess.
Life here is Different.
Believe me, I understand that it takes some getting
used to. I, too, am a transplant, having only moved
to the Bywater 17 years ago. I'm still one
of the New Kids, by comparison.

I strongly suggest, in a most friendly manner,
that you take a deep breath & look around.
I know it's not what you're used to.
And I'm guessing that's why you moved here.

We have traditions here that date back to long
before this was American soil. Especially the
traditions of Music & Tolerance.
This is a city of joyful celebration and it can,
indeed, get a little messy.
But that's the point.
That's how the gumbo of life here is made.

When looking at the mysterious habits of one's
neighbors, it's always good to remember that many
of them, myself included, found themselves suddenly
homeless, a few years back, with the grim
possibility that they'd lost everything,
as they waited for six long weeks
to return to this place like no other.

Upon returning home, they found wreckage beyond
belief, a life without fresh food or even potable
water, darkness bleeding in to gunfire, as the
lightless nights came, day after day, again & again.

We took turns supplying each other with water & food,
sharing blankets, tools, batteries, rides, watching
children as others sought out impossible medical
assistance. We stood our ground as gangs of thugs
took on the cops, watched armed hummers rolling
through the streets, enforcing sun down curfews.

And somehow, we made it through.

Now, with the New Mayor and a hit HBO program,
people are interested in coming here to live again.
And that's great.

Except when they tell us we're doing it wrong.

Why would anyone move to the "Bohemian Sector"
of New Orleans, as it's called from San Francisco
to New York, if they don't like the locals or
their music?
Why would someone move here from Massachusetts,
as I understand you have, and want to make it
like the place they just left?
If that worked so well, why leave it behind?
Why would one want to relocate to an area only
to complain about it?

I understand that creativity can be messy.
I know for a fact that it can get loud.

I also understand that your complaints,
that you'll have to close your business for
the day, for one, are unfounded.
The event in question is on a Sunday,
a day your own listings say that you're closed.
It operates from Noon until 10pm, with a guarantee
from Michael that the sound levels will be low
after 8pm.

I wonder if you lived nearer to Vaughn's
if you'd insist they shut down the Thursday
Night Kermit Ruffins shows that run much later
and draw larger crowds, often consisting of
obnoxious out of towners?

I hope not.

As for the 'defecation on Chartres street',
that can hardly be attributed to the Noise Fest,
if it indeed occurred, any more than the gunfire I
hear on Chartres Street from time to time,
can be attributed to the New Tattoo Parlor,
which would have, at one time, drawn huge
resistance from those who live in the Marigny/Bywater

But we remain open minded, creating an atmosphere
where people such as yourself can come & thrive.

Michael Welch is school teacher.
His wife, Morgana, works for the Arts Council
and is part of a co-op art gallery called The Front,
a standing member, like myself, of the St Claude Art
District. We were all instrumental in turning these
neighborhoods from gangland horror show to the growing
art enterprise they are today.

And someone who has been here, what a year or two?
is telling us we're doing it wrong.

I don't think so.
I think "doing it wrong" would be launching a
collective political attack, including meeting with
the BNA & City Council, without ever having a
dialog with Michael, himself.

If security is an issue, say so.
Many of us work these events for each
other, free of charge, for this very reason.
The local Guardian Angels often volunteer for
these things, too, including parades & block
parties, art openings and musical events.
The City Council does not.
Neither does the BNA.
Nor will they.

It rankles me a bit, I must admit, that folks
who came here for the flavor of the neighborhood,
would, without discussion, petition the
authorities to shut down the neighbors they
haven't bothered to speak to.

And it's more than being The People Who Shut Down
The Music for the rest of your stay here.
And believe me, that one will stick for a decade.

Imagine another hurricane.
The season comes from June 1st to November 1st,
every single year. That's half the calendar year,
by the way.

Who will you call when your car won't start & the
phones & power are all out?
The very same people who's lives you screwed with?

Who's door will you run to when gunmen take your
wallet on the way home?
It happens here with alarming regularity.

For better or worse, you're a neighbor now.
Michael & Morgana's neighbor.
My neighbor.
OUR neighbor.

Welcome to the neighborhood.
I sincerely hope you have the best possible experience,
living in the place we all love & love to call home.
Not just because we live here, but because we rebuilt it,
with our own backs & hands, on our own dime,
while the City Of New Orleans was getting bled white
by political criminals and run to ground by renegade cops.

I also offer my sincerest hope that you find a place
in your heart here that works, a rhythm that sounds true,
and a way of life that you can cherish for years to come.

But right now, for the record, you're doing it wrong.

I'll be posting this letter on my blog site, so there
can be no back tracking later,. at least on my part.
I offer you this chance to speak to Michael, or the
neighborhood, in an open forum.

There's nothing we can do that can't be done.
All it takes is for both parties to reach but half way across.

best regards;
Lord David
Writer - Artist - Musician
Skull Club
New Orleans



Sacred Part of Town said...

This is a wonderful reality check, something many who have lived here for one week, two years, twelve years, or forever should read. I don't like to overgeneralize, but I don't think I am the only one who certainly needs to take a deep breath and look around, especially during the noisy messy times, and remember that it is because of my neighbors that I was able to continue living here (in Bayou Saint John now, and in the Marigny for 8 years).

Thank you for addressing the solution!

I deleted my initial comment because it had a typo in it.

~Tara Jill

WendyW said...

Wait...WHAT? A tattoo jernt is wanting to kvetch and moan and dread an 8 hour stellar music event???
And even were it not made up of such talented notables - SFW? Let 'em play!
As it is, it IS a wonderful group of talented folks of so many different stripes (and polka dots and splashes and more) and besides, who made HubbaHubba the fun police? I mean, there's always NOPD to fulfill that role.
Here's to a WONDERFUL Noisefest!!!
I wish I could be there!

Anonymous said...

Very well put Lord David. I support the Noizefest and hope Hubba Hubba will understand they cannot change the will of our people. This is a tight community, and taking something away from us is wrong in every sense. I don't think hubbahubba will appreciate this bad press and the fact that their business will suffer all year as opposed to one day, that they are closed anyway...

Sam said...

Awww. Seriously? How odd. I have one of their cards here, given to me by a friend who knows my ink addiction. Guess I won't be going there to get some new art. That's a shame.

Great post though, LD. Needed to be said.

D.R. 1111 said...

Given the demographic, you'd think a tattoo parlor would want to become a sponsor, not a downer.

Lord David said...

Word up, Doc.
Ya hurd it?

thejakeman said...

Shit son, if i have to put up with 6 hours of sesame street songs remixed into bounce for a 3 year old's birthday party, you can put up with actual music for 8.

drr said...

Linked: http://www.davidrhoden.com/eecore/index.php/weblog/excellent_open_letter_to_the_new_orleans_tattoo_shop/

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Well said, LD.
I'm with Sam re: my next tattoos, which will be a couple hundred dollars worth of dragonflies. I mean, what are we supposed to do? Support people who don't support us? Why? And trust me, what you said about this sort of assholery sticking for decades is true, yet in the tattoo world this news will travel very fast and will Not be well received among the clientele. I'm simply stunned that an entrepreneur could be so ignorant of their own demographic.
Jeez Louie.
Got yous hangin.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

You're beautiful, Lord David, and I love you.

kiwi kerry said...

LD, your letter was perfect.

My first knee jerk reaction is to blacklist those who dare attempt to change our imperfectly perfect neighborhood but then I wondered if there wasn't another more radical approach?

I have always dug that folks who would be institutionalized (or at least marginalized) in other cities are often looked after here. We take 'em all in.

So maybe we could extend that love to those that don't know how to let the love in yet ... love them in spite of themselves. I vote for kindness in the face of unkindness.

Most of us came here and learned more about how to really love our neighbors ... why pretend that we own the joint when we just got lucky? We had our own rough edges softened by what we found here. Let's pass it on. Let's hug those suckers better!

Lord David said...

Call me irresponsible & ridiculous, but I still hold on to hope that some measure of compromise and understanding can be reached here.

After all, the people involved in this dispute are, all of them, artists of one sort or another.

Should any of them be concerned with losing face, please, blame everything on me.
All of it.
District Attorneys and ex-wives have been doing it for centuries, as it is.

"OH, Honey! The villagers are here with pitchforks & torches again, it must be for you!"

There is no greater act than brokering peace, people.

Just do it.
You know you wanna.

oldschool said...

Brilliantly stated. I hope they decide to join the neighborhood rather than fight it.

GG said...

LOOOVE this! So perfectly put...and captures the magic of our city so well.

WendyW said...

Now, now...c'mon, they have their knickers in a twist b/c they have this perfectly located ink stand and want their sedate suburban clientele to have a calm, 'respectable' joint to get their misspelled/poorly-translated Kanji, their tweety birds and douche-tribe tatts done in.
Considering their concern about some fecal matter on the sidewalk, they should be more fretful over the crap/marginal ink I see on their page. They won't be doing any ink for me, dat's fo' sho'.

spacemarine said...

er, is this the same Lord David that threw a fit when the Healing Center behind him decided to paint its building orange? claiming the color choice would seep into your living space...?

anyway the "Why did you move here" argument is old and hollow. as a port city New Orleans has historically been populated by people from many far away places, few of them native unless you were indian. so to cite others for not being from here or here first is broken.

if their property is zoned for business, then they have a right to be able to do business. an un-permitted festival does not trump that right. if this fest tried operating next door to a bank, preventing the bankers from doing business (even for a day), then youd better believe the same complaints would be made. rightfully so.

don't like it? get a permit. next.

Anonymous said...

This post leaves out the initial story that sparked all of this. What exactly did the tattoo parlor do to complain? Did they call the police?

I searched online and couldn't find any news about this. A link would be great...

Lord David said...

Dear 'Spacemarine';

Er, no. This is the 'other' Lord David. Come on, now...

You knew it was me when you wrote this, & probably did when you signed on to join blogger the other day (May 2011).

I never said any "color choice would seep into your(my)living space."
I pinted out that 20,000 feet of safety orange wall, facing all of my windows, would reflect bright orange light into my home. It does, and the Healing Center & I are working it out peacefully, thank you very much.

And that, sir, is the point here.

The Fest people have been told no permit is needed for a small event on private property as recently as yesterday. And the business involved is CLOSED that day. But you'd know that if you actually read the above post, instead of drooling over taking shots at me.

The point here is that they went immediately to the cops over music rehearsals a while back, rather than just asking their neighbor to stop or turn it down. He complied immediately, complete with apologies.
Over this latest round, they refused to speak to him about this event, and called both the City Council & Bywater Neighborhood Association, rather then have a simple discussion.

I hope that answers your questions, too, Anonymous.

As for you, Spacemarine, it's easy to arm chair any problem, isn't it?
You know all about what my loft looks like and you're a master of the permit process.... too bad you didn't bother to read the blog you're commenting on, or you'd have a better understanding of the situation.

On a personal note, here's some advice; if you don't like me, don't fucking hang around, k?

I really don't care either way.

Anonymous said...

being from here, i don't understand.
this is what we do.
i suggest if this 8 hour fest upsets you, do what the other folks around here do - take trip to the coast for the day.
or move.


Lord David said...

As always, Miss Termite, ya done nailed it.
Truth be told, I often make up imaginary festivals, just so I can scoot over to Bay St Louis, or my favorite, Biloxi, for some sun, seafood, and poolside cocktailing.

If I imagine that the illusionary festival is going too late (as I am prone to do), there's a wealth of cheap little sea side motels to vanish into.

And no, it wasn't me jumping into the pool from the roof of the Pelican Inn, although I am, from time to time, flying.

Thanks for chiming in, darlin.
I love hearing from you, ya know.

desier said...

This reminds me of the Little People's Place fiasco from years ago. Sctatching my head as to why someone would move into a neighborhood only to isolate themselves and try to change a long standing tradition. Oh well, the loss will be theirs as I will not be getting a new tattoo from them (I have 5) nor will I refer anyone to them. And my network is wide reaching. Welcome to the neighborhood...

Lord David said...

This final word has come in from Michael Patrick Welch, host of Noisefest:

"NOizeFest is fine. Hubba Hubba Tattoo wrote me an email saying they were going somewhere else Sunday, and they would not call the cops. I hope they come by, and we can all have fun together."

I offer my congratulations to all parties concerned, on finding a peaceful understanding in this.

It takes a big heart & a clear head to reach across conflict and find these things.

Well done, one & all.

Anonymous said...

When I moved to New Orleans twenty years ago, Quintron wasn't here yet, nor were a number of people mentioned in your post. Of course that doesn't mean my voice is any more important than theirs. As the old real estate adage goes, location location location, not time there determine the make up of a neighborhood.

The tone of this tirade is invasive and angry. A town that felt the wrath of federally miscalculated levees, federal troops, and woefully wrongheaded police tactics before during and after the storm probably doesn't need someone ranting about a set of neighbors disagreeing about an admittedly loud 8 hour show once a year. Calling transplants out, people willing to invest money and time into the community isn't vey communal.

But that's the thing with transplants to New Orleans, me among them, we take far more ownership of an idea of the town before fully understanding it. We create it in an image that was born of us, and not New Orleans.

The real traits of New Orleans don't center on noizefest, or bartenders, they focus instead on the daily racial push and pull, and the struggle to make the place as vibrant and immediately recognizable befo the storm, and not some angry ghost town like Detroit, or Buffalo.

The above post could have better been served as a visit to th neighbors house with a six pack in hand, or a plate of crawfish, so everyone could talk it out without the anger, or the us and them rhetoric.

Because as you write, you too came from some place else.
Why not welcom the new people, and show them what new Orleans means in less caustic terms, rather than berate them publicly for disturbing the status quo, as any newcomer to New Orleans has surely been guilty of a time or two, as they got used to the different way of life here.

Lord David said...

Perhaps you didn't read it right. The 'visit to the neighbors house' was tried, several times I'm told.

They refused to communicate at that time, and instead, went immediately to the authorities. Therein lies the rub, not in any imaginary "daily racial push and pull" as you put it.

What, exactly, does race have to do with this issue anyhow? To my reread, the races of those involved were never discussed, nor should they be.

I'm sorry to hear you found that "The tone of this tirade is invasive and angry."
I was neither when I wrote it, in fact, I'm struggling to find the Invasiveness & anger of this:

"I also offer my sincerest hope that you find a place
in your heart here that works, a rhythm that sounds true,
and a way of life that you can cherish for years to come."
Hardly the beratement you suggest.

I think you're reading more of yourself into this than you are my intentions, because I meant to accomplish nothing but start an open dialog where none seemed to exist or work.

In that respect, the parties involved have, I'm told, have finally gotten together & worked out an agreeable situation for all involved.

Finally, any 'status quo' that involves refusing to speak to one's neighbors and instead using the local government & police forces to force compliance would be better left out of any neighborhood, anywhere.

Rockafella Nightly said...

just wonderful dear, great job, i may have to take inspiration from this, to write my own new york neighbor that is still in the midst of ruining my life. good for you and your wonderful and always true words

Lord David said...

Thank you, dear.

Regardless of the Anonymous post, suggesting I'm dishing out a 'berating & invasive tirade', my desire to see two sets of transplanted neighbors come to terms with each other, peacefully & of their own accord has somehow managed to come true.
I credit it mostly to their own ability to find higher ground, given the opportunity.

I suggest that you, too, have better knowledge of a peaceful solution to your own dilemma than "someone ranting" an "invasive and angry tirade".

The truth of the matter is that we are, all of us, alike in so many ways. Our inability to see this may drive us apart, but our acceptance of it can create unity stronger than any divide.

Rock it like ya own it, sista.
You are as beautiful as you let yourself be.
And, baby, that's a lot.


Anonymous said...

Dear Lord David,

Keep up the good word (the whole blog).

I'm a Marignator since 2000. Don't know a thing about the Hubba Hubba hubbahubba.

Two observations. First: the great part of a boycott is finding a good reason to end it. If Hubba Hubba and Michael/Morgana have found common ground, hooray.

Second: Narigny/Bywater neighborhoods are not for everyone. Personally, I am seasonally in and out of NOLA to get away from all the shiny things. It's not good to fixate too long on shiny things. Oh, how I love shiny things. That's why I spend time in northern Illinois farming with the cousins. It's hard(er) to fizate on dirt.

The third of two observations: NOLA is a big place. Maybe HH would be happier on Magazine or Tchoupitoulas. Just a thought.

Ken Greenlee

Lord David said...

Thanks for the compliment, Ken.

Although in all honesty, I never endorsed a 'boycott'. It seems to be a reaction from some of the immediate neighbors, I guess.

I'm quite glad to see this, or any conflict between neighbors, come to a mutually happy ending. In keeping with that, I sincerely hope to see the Tattoo People and their Bywater neighbors begin to embrace each others differences as well as similarities.

Therein lies the melting pot where culture is given eternal life.

Anonymous said...

Lord David,

I am aware that you did not call for a boycott. It seems that some commenters did, at least on a personal level. I was not clear.

A boycott borne of spite/revenge and one borne of rational desire to change behavior are two different beastie boyz.

It sounds (I hope anyway) like this situation fits in the latter category, and with behavior changed, we can all go back to sharing the juice box laced with stupid pills.

Cheers David.

Kenny G.

HFC_Tom said...

4311/4313 Chartres Street is zoned Residential, not Business. So have they applied for a non-conforming permit?