Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Case You Were Wondering...

I believe in freedom of choice, at all levels, as long as no harm is done to anyone in the process. "Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." - Aleister Crowley But I have a real problem with blatant stupidity, especially when it comes from those in a position of power. Please do it right or get the hell out of the way. You're ruining things for everybody. That's all. Thanks.

A Monopoly On Stupid

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.


This is about the stupidest fucking thing I've ever seen from an Energy company, particularly one who Rules The City, unchecked.

ENTERGY, et al, you're fucking morons.

Petition to Remove Ronal Serpas - Silence is Violence Notes

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 (, 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:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

30 Days of NOPD Violations

I am sometimes asked if I cherry pick certain incidents to make the NOPD look bad in these posts. In fact, even as I'm sure there are many hard working & dedicated officers out there, too, it would be much harder to find nearly as many stories to illustrate that, as far as I can tell. And it seems that I am not alone. Please read this story by Matt Davis, over at The Lens: Shining a light: One month's NOPD disciplinary proceedings Unless you're sleeping in your patrol car, it's a real eye opener.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Love Happens

Heartfelt thanks to Candy Chang for leaving a little slice of Heaven right down the street from me. "Before I Die..." Love happens when hearts are exposed. Thanks for making a place for that. XOXO LD

It's Not You, It's Me.

I know I go on & on about the local cops, government, crime, etc. It gets tedious for me, so if you're reading this & thinking, 'Oh god, why do I even bother to look at this crap', trust me, I understand. There are those who tell me to just shut up, it will never change, I'm wasting my time & annoying everyone. And I really have no excuse. I can't help it, I guess. Because every single time I think of working people in New Orleans, from those stuck in cubicles, wishing they were Out There, to service industry people, wishing they weren't, and I think of them getting robbed, shot, & worse, while also getting illegally pulled over & searched, ticketed by hidden cameras, jailed for a joint & arrested, charged with public drunkeness, even though they don't touch the stuff, I also think about this; $10,000 a WEEK going into the pockets of NOPD officers, for doing a job they were already paid to do, while their Chief has his arrogant nose stuck in a monitor screen & the Mayor is covering the Chief's ass by quoting Jesus. Did I mention that the ten grand in question is OUR MONEY? So forgive me, but it makes me so fucking mad I could spit blood. Under the circumstances, I'm doing the best I can.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Murder in New Orleans - This is why...

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:

Cedrick Berryhill

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:

Cedrick Berryhill was ruled incompetent to stand trial Thursday and will be sent to a juvenile mental health facility for treatment. (T-P; 5/19/11)

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.

Ya think?

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.

In fact, these robberies have now extended past mere armed robbery, to attempted murder, saved from the Real Thing by the acts of neighbors, racing to help (T-P; 5/23/11).

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

Jazz Fest Arrest; Welcome to the Grinding House

Artists & musicians are the very soul of New Orleans. There are festivals celebrating their work. Yet they are often treated as second class citizens. Tourists who come here to celebrate this creativity are the economic engine of our city. They, too, are often treated badly. Both of these areas of oppression are courtesy of the NOPD, the only faction found criminal by the Dept. of Justice. Read all about it, here: NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FEST VISITOR ARRESTED AT GATE.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

State of Grace

I don't care what you look like, but still you are beautiful to me. You hold on to me so tightly, yet I have all the space in the world. You encourage me to explore, and so I always wish to return to you. And when I go too far, your unconditional love humbles me.

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