Thursday, May 26, 2011
May 26th, 2011
Like hundreds of other people in the Marigny, I received the attached letter from Entergy, warning me of a necessary power outage on the 27th of May, which is tomorrow, at this writing.
Please note the warning that "During this 5 hour period (7am - 12pm) all air conditioning equipment, electric heating, large motors for power tools & elevators, etc. should be switched to the "off" position & remain off until approximately 5 minutes after service is restored."
I assume there must be at least some small amount of danger involved in NOT following these instructions, or they would not have been included.
In their infinite wisdom & caring for their customers, Entergy, the Energy Monopoly that so runs our collective lives, turned off the power as scheduled, at 7 am.
A DAY EARLY.
This is about the stupidest fucking thing I've ever seen from an Energy company, particularly one who Rules The City, unchecked.
I received this email today, from Silence is Violence. I urge each & every Citizen of New Orleans to read it and take the action they believe necessary & appropriate. The contents of that email follow here in their unedited entirety;
May 26, 2011
A petition has begun circulating calling upon Mayor Mitch Landrieu to remove Ronal Serpas from the position of police chief of the City of New Orleans. With respect for the extreme challenges facing the NOPD as well as Mayor Landrieu in their efforts to make New Orleans safe, we believe every New Orleanian should carefully review current circumstances in local law enforcement, weigh the stakes for the lives and safety of our families and communities, and consider signing this petition. The petition is posted on our website (www.silenceisviolence.org), and SilenceIsViolence will assist in collecting signed petitions in an effort to bring our voices to City Hall (see instructions below).
Every police officer in this city accepts a herculean personal and professional task—the Superintendent perhaps most of all. Ronal Serpas took on a deeply complex and difficult job when he agreed to transform the NOPD. He arrived here at a disadvantage, given his past with the Department. This being said, Mr. Serpas has not managed to rise above this past, nor chart a viable new path toward safety in New Orleans. In particular, we have found the following actions and approaches to be counter-productive to achieving a safe city:
§ An inability to break the cycle of corruption. Mr. Serpas has demonstrated both a personal and a professional inability to break the decades-old cycle of corruption plaguing the NOPD. His personal entanglements have cast doubt upon his own credibility, and his lack of decisive action when confronted with apparent corruption in the department shows a lack of professional focus. The “You Lie, You Die” dictate has not been applied as promised.
§ Criminalization, disengagement, and antagonism of victims. Under Mr. Serpas’ administration, the victim-service department has been reduced to just one detective. Victims of violence and their families have difficulty accessing information, support, and any sense of partnership with the NOPD. This is a human failing, and a lost opportunity for natural partners in combating violence. Prior arrest records—not convictions, but arrests—of homicide victims are broadcast as part of NOPD-disseminated notices about their deaths: Hardly the way to convince families to participate in criminal justice, or the broader public to engage in problems that we must address in unity.
§ A lack of clear strategy for addressing and collaborating with cultural traditions and practices, especially street practices. Heightened and often clumsy (particularly around Carnival season 2011) policing of cultural traditions and practices has antagonized members of the diverse cultural communities who also should be natural partners for the police. We support the enforcement of codes. However, enforcing codes and policing cultural practices must include communication and collaboration with these groups in question, or the police lose valuable credibility and cooperation in the community.
New Orleans is at a crossroads, and the direction taken by our leaders at this juncture will speak volumes about their commitment to hear and to serve the citizens of this city, and about their human interest in our pain. Morale within the NOPD is at a low point, with even the most dedicated officers struggling to find motivation and support for their work. More than a distraction, the current crisis within the NOPD is therefore actively dangerous. The U.S. Department of Justice, and Mr. Landrieu himself, have declared that community engagement and the public’s trust and confidence are essential to successfully fighting violent crime and to sustainable reform of the NOPD.
The community is calling for Mr. Landrieu to provide leadership, to stand up for us, and to address the painful realities of violence in our streets and homes.
Signed petitions can be delivered or mailed, or faxed to our office: 2702 Chartres Street, New Orleans LA 70117. Or call (504) 948-0917 to request or submit petitions. There also is an online version of the petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/20/petition-of-no-confidence-in-new-orleans-police-chief-ronal-serpas/
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Last Winter, many of us in the St Roch / Marigny neighborhoods were appalled at the horrific & violent crime spree that left four dead, several women raped, a few tortured and string of robberies in it's wake. And this crime spree had a name:
There was a lot of noise from the District Attorney's Office about trial as an adult, 80 year sentence, extreme violence, etc. You know the speech. We've all heard it before and will hear it again.
Now, a few short months later, there's this:
So after the speeches on the news & photo opps, the TV appearances and finger wagging, a 17 year old serial killer & rapist is sentenced thusly: "The court will re-evaluate after several months at an East Louisiana Mental Health System facility."
The article states that he seems 'not present' and they're worried he might hurt himself. Perhaps a complete sociopath, who sees other living people as mere game pieces to torture, rape & kill, isn't 'entirely present' because the only thing he finds fully engaging is more torture, rape & killing. He just can't get it up for anything else.
Or maybe, since he was able to avoid the NOPD for weeks, while most of us were tracking his neighborhoods of choice pretty closely, he's smart enough to push out his bottom lip, stare at the ground and believe that he'll get sympathy, just like he did at the home that allowed this monster to grow into fruition and set him loose upon the rest of us.
And maybe, instead of being afraid of an 80 year sentence, he was quite sure he could manage to get to juvenile hall, or maybe even a juvenile mental health facility, where he could easily terrify the other inmates into letting him control the TV in the day room for a few months, until he can return to St Roch, and begin to exact his revenge in a more thought out manner, having had a nice little rest.
And maybe this is why we have a string of armed robberies occurring in Uptown New Orleans now, as one group of thugs learns from the headlines of another, that Committing Murder In New Orleans Is No Big Deal.
Call me crazy (you wouldn't be the first by a long shot) but another big maybe is coming to mind...
Maybe if the police weren't so worried about how to rip off the city with paid details for work they should have been doing anyway, if Chief Serpas weren't once again so glued to his computer world of technology THAT ONLY TRACKS CRIMES, NOT PREVENTS THEM, and going to hide in Baton Rouge while his best friend, son-in-law & body guard (why does a top cop need a body guard?) get busted in a city wide criminal scam he claims to know nothing about, and maybe, just maybe, if mayor Mitch wasn't busy covering for Serpas & quoting Jesus at town meetings, and finally, maybe if Cannizzaro would actually stick to his damned guns for once, (please grow some balls. The NOPD crime reports are mostly pot busts - again), if all those maybes would line up at once, great guys like John Flee & upcoming celebrity chefs like Nathanial Zimet wouldn't be found bleeding on their own doorsteps or in their own front hall with their fucking brains blown all over the floor.
But then, that's just what I think. And like I said, I may be crazy. Please make note of that, too.
Because if I ever get in trouble, I want a free pass to the day room, some sweet meds, and bus ride home in a few months. It's got to be the best excuse going. Except, of course, for one.
When I called the Public Integrity Beaureau to report a 5th District cop pulling his gun on me, I got this official response:
"The 5th District NOPD has investigated itself and found no wrong doing."Now tell me, who's really the crazy one here?
Friday, May 13, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
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 corridor. 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. Ever. 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 http://skull-club.com