Monday, March 28, 2011

Cop School - For You, Not Them - Really

I got this email today.

Besides being one of the stupidest & hilariously wrong things I ever read, it really pissed me off.

Once again, New Orleans Chief of Police, Ronal Serpas, is trying to make it your fault that he's a miserable failure at his job.

Please read the email, reprinted here, in it's entirety:

"The New Orleans Police Department is once again offering the citizens of the City the opportunity to participate in a Citizens Police Academy. I the classes are (12) twelve weeks. Each citizen will attend a (2) hour class, starting at 6:00pm, every Wednesday night of each week. The classes do not involve any physical activity it is an informative class focusing on your observation of criminal activity and crime patterns. Anyone interested or if you know of anyone that wants to attend please contact me, Sgt. Roderick B. franklin,Sr., at or Officer Matthew Alsina at or call us at the 5th District station at (504) 658-6050. Please include your name, address and contact information. There are limited spots available for this class. There is a tentative start date for the class to begin on April 13, 2011."

Please be assured that the lack of police work done in the future, and the sheer failure of investigators to convince anybody to come forward and face murderous retribution by thugs and/or cops (hard to tell apart sometimes) will be blamed on OUR NOT GOING TO THEIR COP SCHOOL.

Let's face it, this is a 12 week class in how to snitch out any neighbor that pisses you off.

I also got this charming invitation:



Formation Location and Time

4:45PM at St. Claude and St. Roch

The Walk Will Begin @ 5:00PM throughout the St. Roch Neighborhood"

I really would like to know why the cops are afraid to do this without our help.

I know many of us are better armed, and certainly most of us are smarter, but for god's sake, they have the power of

ELECTED DIGNITARIES to protect them.

I wonder if any of those useless suits realize that many of the citizens of the St Roch Area do this Community Walk on a daily basis, mostly because THEY FUCKING LIVE THERE....?

Dear NOPD: Stop trying to get other people to do your damn job. You suck at it, we know, and, in fact, have a Department of Justice Report to support those allegations. All the same, DO YOUR DAMN JOB, and stop trying to guilt us (or yell at us, as Chief Serpas likes to do at 'town meetings') into doing your work while you park illegally in the cross walk and suck down coffee with three sugars in it (yes, I was watching YOU).

Furthermore, it may SEEM like a big deal to actually get out of your car & walk around ANYWHERE, never mind these hot zones, like the St Roch park (read; open air drug & murder mart), but guess what? Even the children that live there have to do it every day. So quit crying and asking us for back up. Or just quit.

This also goes for those ELECTED DIGNITARIES.

Do your fucking job, or get the boot on the next election day.

We're sick of this crap where you think you've become somebody.

We can take that chair away as fast as we gave it.

Get to work.

All of ya.

(PS, And learn to fucking spell, fer chrissakes)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Show Me The Money

Last Monday, I read a story in the Time-picayune that addressed the violent crime problem building in the St Roch district, just across St Claude Avenue from the Marigny. The title refers to an "explosion of violence", but those living in the area know this has been building up for quite some time. Of particular concern is the area at the Johnson Street end of St Roch park. This community park was created to provide some sort of outdoor recreational area for the local kids, and young adults. This particular area is now best known as both an open air drug market & the site where Terrance Dennis, just 19 years old, was gunned down, murdered right out in the open, by an assailant who chased him down a public street, firing at him with an assault rifle. While this sounds like something from an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, it represents current living conditions in the St Roch; Living in Fear. On last nights news I listened & heard the City's plans for more traffic cameras, now that they've been approved for use (again), and that they can provide millions of dollars annually to the City of New Orleans, through fines for speeding, running red lights, school zone violations, etc. Personally, my one ticket for doing 28 in a 20 MPH school zone, clocked in at $110.00, and was a bit excessive by my standards. I was speeding, however, so I paid it and moved on. Slowly. And I wondered why so many of these were planned, when a single pair of pole top cameras in the St Roch park might save dozens of lives, and relieve an area of the city of the blight & violence associated with this drug market/turf war that so hinders life there... In my work travels yesterday, I twice encountered NOPD officers, 2 in one location and 3 or 4 in another, both times, just over a minor hilltop in the road, checking for brake tag violations or illegal license plates, perhaps the occasional seat belt violation. Again, I wondered why they would be doing this when murder waits, just a moment away, at the Johnson Street end of St Roch park. Couldn't a detail of two officers at a time simply monitor that end of St Roch Park, rather than hunt down brake tag violators? Today, I looked through the NOLA Alert Crime Blast emails, and there was a list of the many interactions the NOPD has had over the last week. I saw lists of traffic stops, minor arrests, many citations, etc. The latest Crime Maps from the 5th District came out in the usual way; a map of the week's crime, immediately followed by Today's New Map, so that anyone opening the most current email would see a clean slate of local harmony. Of course, this is bullshit. The Department of Justice report on the NOPD addresses these issues, directly; "We found NOPD’s emphasis on “activity,” defined as numbers of encounters such as stops, FICs, and arrests—at the expense of a more deliberate focus on problem-solving—to be an ingrained part of NOPD’s organizational culture." And furthermore; "The Department’s policies, training, and tactics support neither a community policing orientation, nor the ultimate goal of proactively addressing problems to reduce and prevent crime, rather than merely reacting to it. Within NOPD, the concept of community policing is poorly understood and implemented only superficially." The claim that crime is dropping in New Orleans, backed up by sheer numbers of stops & arrests reported, was addressed as well; "Officers throughout NOPD told us that pressure to make arrests and engage in sufficient “activity” to satisfy command staff and NOPD brass encourages aggressive enforcement of low-level infractions, and diverts attention and resources from quality arrests leading to significant convictions. Indeed, in 2009, NOPD made nearly 60,000 arrests, of which about 20,000 were of people with outstanding traffic or misdemeanor warrants from neighboring parishes for such infractions as unpaid tickets." So maybe you're starting to see the same pattern here that I am... Traffic cameras spit out tickets worth $110, at a minimum, and trust me, it's easier to pay it than it is to take a day off work, pay for parking, and sit in a courtroom for 6 or 7 hours, especially knowing that you'll likely pay it anyway. Crime cameras (besides the wretched history of corruption & fiscal abuse that goes along with them) require that someone actually pay attention. This means a trained & salaried person, watching, at least part of the time, to see what's going on. This costs money, and with little or no financial return. The same is true of the Brake Tag stops. Who wouldn't want to spend a sunny day outside, watching cars go by, talking with coworkers, catching a few easy citations, and maybe a warrant arrest or two? Meanwhile, sitting in a patrol car, waiting for the thugs to appear on all sides, or simply run down the street with an AK-47, must be less enticing. But that is, after all, police work. In general terms, I see an obvious pattern through which we, the Citizens of the City of New Orleans, are systematically watched for small detail infractions that result in giving money to the City of New Orleans, while an impoverished neighborhood, fighting it's way back to life by way of it's citizenry, mostly poor, black and/or musicians & artists, or all of the above, is left to deal with open air drug markets and murder in the street. So when I see pictures of Chief Serpas, sitting proudly on his Big White Horse, fresh from spouting statistics based on traffic stops, I think of those living in the St Roch, afraid to let their children play outdoors, in the neighborhood park their houses face, and I can't help it, the words just appear there in my psyche... Massah, on his big white horse, don't care for us folk down thisa way. Unless of course, that is, we can show him the money.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Cliffs of Insanity

Beneath the smooth finish of the placid surface,
something moved in the depths.
Something rippling and dark and ancient...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Some Irish Love for the Rat

Nothing really captures New Orleans sense of drama, zaniness, history & living in the moment, quite like a parade. Recent ills aside, this is where it all goes down, kids. No matter what your age, sex, affiliation or profound social ills, Parades are Happy Time here in the Crescent. Today, I found myself looking out the window in to the afternoon sunshine, and, almost like a New Zombie from some B horror movie, set my tools down on my way to the door, grabbed my keys and Mister Bicycle, and headed out. Lower Decatur, where friends have shops, a visit to my favorite cheap sunglasses stand (they have them with skulls on the lenses, now!) at the French Market, a ride up Frenchman and back through the 'hood, it was a lovely repast from the crowds of Mardi Gras, but still, the buzz was in the air about the Annual Downtown Irish Club Parade. So, as the hour approached, feeling a little dreamy from my afternoon ride, I just grabbed my keys and got back on Mister Bicycle. I ambled down St Roch towards Royal Street, knowing the Mimi's curb front would be jammed, and stopped outside Schiros. The parade was a bit further away than I thought, so I locked up Mister Bicycle and began to proceed on foot. I should point out that Mister Bicycle is actually an Electra 26", a Rat Rod street cruiser model with ape hangers, a clown horn and rather worse for wear. Although it wore a single strand of green beads to this event, they were quickly snatched off & given away to the first of my friends, Natasha, that I ran into. Realizing I'd left without a wallet or a dime, I decided to forgo any bead collecting, as my own monetary contribution to this event would be nil. The Parade, itself, was reward enough on this lovely evening. Within minutes, another friend, Miss Mardi Claw, called out to me from the crowded street; "Hey! Ya wanna come up & watch from the balcony?" Well, of course I do. Who wouldn't? So I found myself thumping up the steps to the private balcony, a viewing place par excellence, and striking up a conversation with some out-of-towners staying there. Truly lovely people. A lovely spot as well,and another 'free ride'. It soon became apparent that many of these guests were unable or unpracticed at the yell, "Trow me sumpin mistah" and even worse at the catch. A pretty Asian woman, taking pictures of the floats, ducked when the beads flew at her, hanging on the wires above her. I snagged them down and handed them to her, showing her the extended hand required. "It's because they like you," I assured her. As the parade went on, beautifully so, I enjoyed the looks on these new faces, becoming more childlike, grinning and laughing as beads fell short or went over their heads. They became more friendly in their yells to the riders. Still, their catching skills were sad. I took it upon myself, then, to tap into the Abundance of the Universe, catching as many strands as possible, and distributing them on the heads of those visitors around me, and locals, alike. Mardi Claw handed me a beer, insisting on buying me a drink, and I went back to Bead Fishing For Others, enjoying the sport of it, as well as the pleasure of seeing their excitement, without the heavy feeling of collecting, receiving or accumulating for myself. I loved it. As the street cleaners finally rolled by (man that stuff they spray smells GOOD), I made my way back down stairs, handing off whatever beads were still in my possession, solid in the knowledge that giving is the better end of Universal Abundance, and enjoying the pleasure of those who thought the Bead Game had passed them by. Finally free of these material accouterments, I stepped out to the bike rack, to unlock Mister Bicycle and head home. I couldn't find my bike. Just as a wave of despair seemed likely to wash over me, I realized what had happened. There were several bicycles locked to the rack, clear of debris and parade droppings. Not a thing on a single one of them. Next to them was an almost bushy pile of beads of all type & variety, expensive & cheap, in a multitude of colors & shapes, wound around a plastic pitchfork, and several paper roses, and god knows what else... This then, was Mister Bicycle. As I made every effort to pass on the gelt of the evening's events, stringing parade schwag over the heads of nearby tourists & friends alike, finally handing off the last strings to some kids by the door, the Abundant Universe was having it's way with me. Well, with the Rat, Mister Bicycle, anyway. But still, the message is quite clear. As you give, so shall you receive. And then some. So, Mister Bicycle is downstairs in the foyer, surely gloating over the New Found Love that the Downtown Irish Club Parade and it's followers have laid upon him. He growled a little when I went to remove the beads, so I left them hanging on him. He'll get tired of them, I guess, eventually. Or maybe, just maybe, The Rat will learn, as we all may someday, that the act of giving, of sharing love & joy, of putting someone else's happiness, even for a few minutes, above your own, is a great joy in itself. And that the Abundant Universe around us refuses to let such deeds go unrewarded. Thanks, Mister Universe, from me & the Rat, or Mister Bicycle, as he likes to be called. He said to tell you he loves you, too. And next time, please leave beer. I think he wants them for me, so it's okay. He didn't mean to growl, really. He's a little misunderstood sometimes, just like the rest of us.

A Strange Combination

This report leaves me feeling both vindicated & concerned for the lives of my fellow New Orleanians. Read the Department of Justice report on the NOPD. You tell me....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Letter of the Law

My recent inquiries into the ordinances covering Art Galleries, the Sale of Art, Parade Permits, and the like have revealed a complex, almost byzantine, collection of verbiage. Which is to say, in plain English, it's a mess. I can honestly report that Scott Hutcheson, the Mayor's 'point man on cultural affairs', agrees with me on this, and has made an ongoing effort, since we began a dialogue, of ferreting out what, exactly, applies. As a f'r instance, I found a simple city ordinance that makes it illegal for any car to be parked in the same spot for 24 hours or more. Picture with me, if you will, residents of Uptown New Orleans, stricken with the flu, braving a rainy February morning to go move their cars, like New Yorkers must do, or face tickets, fines, towing or whatever. The recently recited ordinances on Parading are equally maddening; "A parade is considered any type of planned movement, procession (or) motorcade where you're moving persons vehicles or animals on the city streets," Bourgeois said. "If it's a group of friends that are walking, they should be utilizing the sidewalks and following all traffic laws." So, if your Aunt Fanny & her best friend drive separate cars to your house, and follow you, in yours, to the next stop, you'll need a parade permit. It certainly qualifies as a 'procession'. And those kids walking home after school, all over the street? Illegal. Totally illegal. A daily crime spree. Of course, the new hipster bicycle tour groups in the Marigny/Bywater are repeat offenders, and the group Segway Riders? Super Villians, one & all. Bourgeois went on to say that "the parading permits are easy to get and cost about $200." Apparently, he's out of the loop on that, too. "for the Original Pigeontown Steppers Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Henry started parading on Easter 14 years ago. In 2005, the last time the club paraded, the NOPD charged them just $1,200 to escort the parade." But, oh, wait... Why have they stopped parading since 2005? "...the security bill for $7,560 from the New Orleans Police Department." Also alarming is that one must appear in person at the police district involved to apply for this permit. Considering the questionable temperament of the 5th District, and it's recent 'pay back' response at the Ark, for the Eris Parade meltdown, how fair can this really be? The term 'Selective Enforcement' comes to my mind. I've mentioned before that the horrible mess on St Charles Avenue Neutral ground during this years Mardi Gras parades went on unchecked, even during the pursuit & arrest of those responsible for a stabbing & two shootings. Nobody was maced, pepper sprayed, tased or beaten with batons. Even though the Endemyon parade crowds allegedly blocked off entire blocks, telling other parade watchers they had to 'walk around' areas secured with tents and rope fences. Somehow, this was tolerated. Then there's the basic, day to day stuff... This Face Book picture, from Fat Tuesday, shows us Cm Kristin Palmer (second from right) and her friends, all in costume, enjoying an open bottle of champagne, right out on the street. Local ordinances clearly state: "It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or drink from any opened glass container in or on any public street, sidewalk, park or public right-of-way in the area bounded by the upriver side of Canal Street, the lakeside of Rampart Street, the downriver side of Esplanade Avenue and the Mississippi River." Yet here they are, plain as day, and unmolested by any sort of authority figure. One would think that our City Council Members would be up on these things, particularly one who promised to "look in to" the banning of brass bands after 8pm in the French Quarter, also stating that the 'ordinance is currently on the books and will be enforced'. Really? And just what KIND of cake shall we eat, your highness? The obvious and repeated infractions by the police, themselves, are too many to count. Living with them next door for almost two years, I saw repeated events of them driving up one way streets the wrong way, in their PRIVATE VEHICLES, & OFF DUTY, as it was easier & shorter than going around the block. Of course, I'm sure all of us have felt this way. And it's just as sure that we'd be stopped & ticketed for doing so, may even enjoying an illegal afternoon vehicle search. There have been many times when I've ridden my bicycle past the corner of Burgundy & Mandeville, to see an NOPD cruiser sitting completely blocking the crosswalk, as the officers attached to it sit happily at their table enjoying their coffee & snacks. The personal automobile shown here belongs to one of the 5th District cops and is illegally parked, yet unmolested in any way. It may well have been there for over 24 hours, as well. Witnesses feared coming forward in this horrible crime. Other instances of unmarked patrol cars running red lights to get first in line at Rally's, and the endless stream of them that wafts through the illegal left turn on St Claude from Franklin avenue, are disturbing enough, as they flaunt a sense of lawlessness by the NOPD, but one of my dear friends was also arrested and taken to OPP for this same left turn offense. By now I think you see my point. These laws are both arbitrary & vague, and certainly being enforced selectively, as the Blue Nile vs Endemyon Neutral ground comparison points out. Further more, there is a Class War here, in which the authorities who enforce these laws, and the City Council who enact these measures, are somehow above them. There is a trend, in America these days, to celebrate celebrity, relieve the wealthy & powerful of obligation, and pile these heavy burdens on the backs of the working families and individuals who find themselves not clearly represented by this corrupt system. Now this trend is hitting New Orleans, again. This time it comes not as an egomaniacal Mayor, openly ranting into news cameras, but in the sheep's clothing of New Administration, Law & Order, and a Brighter Tomorrow. Don't be fooled again. Unless the current administration can carry their share of the municipal code, as we are made to do, and clarify these laws, so as to make them the same across the board, and finally, police itself first, so that these blatant special privileges are either removed or shared, we are bound, as all societies are, to find ourselves torn apart by a system best left behind in the feudal days of Nobles & Serfs. We, the Citizens of New Orleans, deserve, and pay for, our rights & privileges, thereby creating the salaries of those who drive us to this yolk of obedience. As it stands today, I, for one, want my money back.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


A costume sale is shut down. A parade meets with both internal vandalism a violent shut down. A book store & bicycle co-op are closed. All within a two week period and all in the same neighborhood. But it's really not that simple. The Blue Nile Bust, as it's come to be called, was unfortunate at best, an act of legal nit-picking that blew all out of proportion. It's true that they were operating without the correct permits, but the initial visit by the department of revenue asked them only to move indoors, and cited them for their lack of paperwork. According to a press release by Ronal Serpas, "The sale was asked to be moved inside at that time." He said that no other action was taken. The ensuing visit by two NOPD officers was what shut it down, according to Tracey Thompson, artist in attendance & founder of Dirty Linen night, as well as Cree McCree, founder of this annual 'flea market'. Cree McCree writes:
"Chief Serpas is wrong. We were initially
told to move vendors off the sidewalk by
two female agents (who I later learned
were from the revenue department).
We had started to do that when a male
NOPD officer, in full blue mufti, said
we would have to clear the premises and
shut the entire sale down. He warned us
they would come back to check if we've
complied with that order.
Needless to day, we did.

We have several witnesses to this
action, including Jesse Paige himself.
Had we merely been asked to clear the
sidewalk, I would certainly have
continued the sale inside.
We we totally shut down."
 It was after this point that an absurd maze of
paperwork and outrageous permit fees began
to surface, leading City Hall to appoint a specific
office to deal with it. Progress seemed imminent.

Then there was The Parade.

Much has already been supposed and rumored,
but this much we know:
Persons with or around the paraders got out of line.
They tagged and walked on parked cars.
They became unruly, and police report having objects
thrown at them, tires slashed, and a lot it could have
been avoided, perhaps, had Eris not chosen to parade,
both unlicensed, & unpoliced by their own members.

I find this saddening beyond measure, that an
influence of destruction and disregard for the property
of others, joined the line. Some of those who had
property destroyed or damaged are also of working
class means & creative life styles. Apparently,
there are those who think that 'sticking it to the
man' or whatever stupidity launched these actions,
was best done by destroying the hard earned property
of their neighbors.

But it got worse.
Much worse.
The response of the 5th District to this event was
epic in it's failure.
My opinion of the 5th District's thug like bullying
behavior is no secret. To read of witnesses accounts
of two female officers blindly spraying pepper spray
in to a crowd of unarmed citizens, including very
young children, smacks more of Iran than it does
of the USA.

But then, since the Federal Flood, we've gotten
used to being treated like a third world nation.

Still, this report of what happened, post arrest,
is chilling, with a bleeding head wound going untreated
for 4 hours these guys are forced to kneel,
handcuffed, in a hallway, as ones blood seeps into
the drywall he leans on, officers spraying chemicals
on the arrested, swearing at them, indiscriminately
using the name 'motherfucker' for each & every one
of them, even threatening them with off duty reprisals.

Read it here.

There is even video of an NOPD officer slapping the
cell phone from the hand of a bystander in clear
violation of his civil rights. You can hear the
comments of Marjorie Esman of the ACLU,
as well as see the video, here.

Further video shows NOPD officers walking
down the street in larger numbers, pepper
spray at arms length, threatening any who look at them.

Comments from an ex-NOPD officer, albeit anonymously
written, ring true as well.

Then today, The Iron Rail Book Store & Plan B Bicycle
Project, both at 511 Marigny St. were closed, also due to
lack of permits. I'm told that the many artists who lived in
their studio spaces there, were also evicted.

Many are crying retaliation by the NOPD, for the
investigation opened in to the parade debacle.
The superintendent there at 511, known as The Ark,
told me personally that this permit inspection arose
from complaints by neighbors who had their vehicles
vandalized during the Eris Parade, and said complaints
went through the 'office of a city council member'.
I find it an outstanding act of cowardice that
this 'member' has not come forward to set the record

There is a point to all of this, if you just read on
a little more...

Our new Police Chief is obsessed with details of
law & order, often ignoring, in my opinion, the real
crime we face daily. There are traffic stops, vehicle checks,
and permit investigations. I, myself, have seen a traffic
stop where the NOPD handcuffed & searched a pair of
men who kept asking "What are you doing" &
"Am I under arrest?" while the cops (also 5th District)
told them "This is for your own safety", completing their
illegal search of 30 minutes before finally letting the
men go. When one of them asked, "What was all that about?"
I clearly heard the response: "Get going or go to jail."

When recent events are analyzed by the court system
here, the old adage "who are you going to believe, me
or the cops?" will rear it's head again.

So lets get it straight; If you're a self proclaimed
'anarchist bookstore', don't try operating without
permits & a license.

If you're going parading, get a permit, or, if not,
make sure that drunken vandals aren't on your
tail, smashing up your neighbors cars. Your 'right
to free assembly' I've been hearing so much about
since that night, doesn't exempt my right to not
have the roof of my car caved in or my paint job

I know that' may not be what some of the
20 - 30 somethings involved with this want
to hear, but maybe they're missing a
bigger picture...

I, too, came back after the flood, with a shattered
hip and little hope.
I, too, rebuilt and got busy helping my neighbors,
even on crutches, while the City kept me in lock
down with a ridiculous curfew that allowed the
other side of Elysian Fields to roam at large until
2 am, while I found myself at gun point, for simply
standing, on crutches, on my door step at
7:30 at night.

But this is not about a parade.
Nor is it about bookstores or flea markets.

It's about a categorically aimed attempt to retake
this part of the city.
We came here, the artists, crafts people, the service
industry minions, back in the 90's when the Quarter
became too expensive.

Nobody wanted to live here, it was desolate, whites
were hardly welcomed, armed robbery & shootings
were even more prevalent.
It was, in short, Deadwood.

Still we built lives, shared dreams and slowly created
something beautiful in an ugly landscape. After the
flood, we returned and began again.
Magazines write us up, calling the Marigny one of
the Top Ten Neighborhoods in the Country, and
the Times Picayune calls the Marigny/Bywater/St Roch
area 'The New Bohemia.'

Now that these ramshackle houses are beautified,
the neighborhoods safer, people walk with strollers
rather than fearful glances, houses are going for
300 grand, instead of fifty.

And They want it back.

Just like Deadwood, the Richer, Whiter,
Mainstreamier folks want to take your
neighborhood for themselves.
And by these irresponsible acts,
we're giving it to them.

They will invent new rules, new permits, new laws,
breaking the old ones, like search & seizure laws
& probable cause, trying to tax or hinder you from
staying, unless you can afford to become one
of them.

Sean Cummings, who for a time directed the river
front development, has gone so far as to buy up
buildings here (a clear ethics violation) and
openly solicit artists from New York, to 'show
us how it's done,' even though our own art scene
has attracted the Andy Warhol Society, and
spawned the now world famous New Orleans
Fringe Festival.

by acting out against these minor laws, you are
giving them what they want.

Each petty permit violation adds to the public

Any store needs a business license & an occupancy
permit. Thinking otherwise is like thinking you can
run that lemon-aide stand for the rest of your life,
without conflict or repercussion.
It's simply not going to happen.

Every other bookstore has to have one.
Every parade needs a permit.
Every vendor needs a tax ID number.
It's like that in every city in America.
This is a fight both unwinable & childish.

This isn't some 70's Billy Jack movie, where the hero,
an unsung loner, thwarts Boss Hogg, gets the girl,
and rides into the sun set.

This is a move to shut down your lifestyle completely.

The real issue here to focus on is the same issue being
used against you.
Make them answerable to the very letter of the law.
Make THEM answer for unreasonable behavior.
While any credibility is still ours.

Every member of the NOPD MUST file a report
after using a taser, each time they use it.
It MUST have a resisting arrest report.
Make them present it.

Assaulting a citizen for using a camera phone is a
Make them arrest the officer who did it.

It's also a violation of your civil rights.
Call the FBI immediately.
Sue the NOPD for violating your civil rights.
The ACLU may even provide you with legal counsel.

Your City Council Member is NOT responding as she
said she would?
Petition her office with phone calls, letters & emails and
document them to the press.

Do NOT allow yourself to be searched illegally.
Do NOT allow yourself to be treated like an animal by
the NOPD, but have witnesses document the occasion,
on film or video if possible.

We CAN fight City Hall, but only as far as we are willing
to step up to the game. And as far as I can see, we have
every reason to, and every tool we need at our disposal.

But it will not happen with rumor, street theater,
sheer defiance and other techniques best left in the
late night barroom where they were born.

We must act as a unified, literal front, prepared to stand
our ground legally. One cannot challenge the ethics of
another from a stand point of chaos.
This way lies only more chaos.

Remember this;
You are New Orleans, too.
This is also YOUR city.
Respect it.
Love it.
Own it.

Stand up in the light of day and speak directly;
While I am not above the law, neither are you.
We are not your children or cattle, but your equals.


Without it's artists, musicians, writers & performers
New Orleans will become bereft of culture.
And that 'culture' brings in about 7.5 million tourists &
about 5 billion dollars every single year.


Lord David
Skull Club
New Orleans

Monday, March 7, 2011


I'm still collecting information. Start here, with Nola Slate;

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Caught in the Lies; Part 2

Since the ridiculous Art Bust at the Blue Nile, on Frenchmen Street (Sunday, 2/27/11) there has been scuttlebutt about what really happened, and why the NOPD would shut down a once a year flea market, in it's 20th year, selling some original costume designs by local artists. The press has carried various accounts so far, and these are the things that have come to light: "There was a problem with retail sales tax." Lie #1. This is an Artist Tax Free Zone, set down by the City of New Orleans, called the St Claude Corridor. Each artist is to keep their own records, and submit the totals, sans actual tax. As far as I know, we pay taxes, albeit documented, by the honor system. When was the last time you saw cops ANYWHERE, checking out register receipts? "The bar had no manager on duty." Lie #2. As a veteran of both bartending in & owning bars in the 8th District, no manager's license is required of the Bar Owner, and if that owner is 'on the floor' no other manager need be present & the bartender is not required to possess a manager's license. The owner was certainly present, as witnesses will prove, and, in fact, spoke to & was ticketed by the NOPD. And then there's this; In a press release (see it here : )

Chief Serpas states:
"The sale was asked to be moved inside
the bar premises at time." 

However, Flea Market founder, Cree McCree, tells me this:

"Chief Serpas is wrong. We were initially told to move
vendors off the sidewalk by two female agents (who I
later learned were from the revenue department).
We had started to do that when a male NOPD officer,
in full blue mufti, said we would have to clear the
premises and shut the entire sale down.
He warned us they would come back to check if we've
complied with that order. Needless to day, we did. 
 We have several witnesses to this action, including
Jesse Paige (Owner of the Blue Nile) himself. 
 Had we merely been asked to clear the sidewalk,
I would certainly have continued the sale inside.
We were totally shut down." 

While Lunanola suggests that this is the work of City Hall,
rather then the NOPD, I would suggest that it is both.

When the Chief of Police has no qualms about openly lying
to the press, how can the officers of the NOPD be expected
to act in a way considered appropriate for members of an
urban police department anywhere?

Certainly, there were permit issues involved.
Perhaps a warning, such as the Revenue Agents seemed
ready to accept, would have sufficed. Closing down the
entire event was pure meanness.

The City has responded, so far, by telling us all that
about $940 in permits are required for a
"market, fair, festival, carnival, circus, road show,
trade show, concert, display, exhibition or other public event." 

It also requires a bond of $10,000 if there are to be more
than 3 vendors, or artists, involved.

I would love to see these rules enforced on the Julia Street
Galleries, the first Saturday of every month, if they are to
be foisted upon the St Claude Art District & other
Marigny/Bywater/St Roch art shows.

If only 20 of the galleries showing on the Second
Saturday Open Gallery Walk in the St Claude Art
District were charged this way, it would equal
$18,800 in permit fees every month to stay afloat. 

Are those of us who returned to these neighborhoods,
post K, and rebuilt them with our own hands, time & money,
to be bilked by the same city that refuses to address the soaring
murder rate, never mind the bully tactics of the 5th District?

I, for one, cannot accept this from a police chief openly
caught in lies.

I urge each & every one of you to begin calling City Hall
( 504 658-4000 ) and asking for Chief Serpas to explain
this series of lies, or step down.