View article without comments
Arrested at the Eris Parade
by Anonymous by request
Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011 at 10:00 AM
This is my personal account of parading in Eris 2011 and the crazy arrests that followed. I hope you can use this or print it somehow.... please feel free to post it anywhere and everywhere.
This is my personal account of parading in Eris 2011 and the crazy arrests that followed. I hope you can use this or print it somehow.... please feel free to post it anywhere and everywhere. I want to remain anonymous because I fear reprisal, based on the threats the Fifth District officers made over the course of the evening and from witnessing their insane misbehavior with my own eyes. Personally I have lost all faith in our police department. It is increasingly clear that the NOPD problem isn't "bad apples" but an institutional evil reaching far deeper, and now I have experienced it firsthand. So, I am frightened, but my outrage has moved me to write, to make the truth known. I was a peaceful parader, as were (I believe) almost if not all of the others arrested on Sunday night, many of whom I can vouch for personally. Mark my words, New Orleanians... if this can happen to me, it can happen to any of you.
SEVERELY FUCKED UP
The mood in the 5th District station house was grim. Not only the line of twelve cuffed prisoners kneeling on the floor of the hallway-- we were grim alright-- but the police themselves were somber and uneasy. The mood was subdued, punctuated with explosions of anger from the still adrenalized officers who'd been at the scene of the Fifth District's bulldozing of Eris.
"Y'all fucked up," ranted a fat officer, pacing up and down the back hall where we arrestees knelt. It was hour two of what would be over four hours kneeling cuffed side-by-side on the Fifth District's linoleum before transfer to Sheriff's custody. "Y'all done fucked up now. I hope I see the motherfucker who hit me. I'm gonna find him. I'm gonna see that motherfucker on the street, and I'm gonna whip the shit out of him. You DO know that. When I see that motherfucker I'm gonna fuck him up bad, and I hope he's one of y'all's motherfucking cousins. I should'a shot that motherucker! You heard me?"
The station Sergeant was angry too, but he wasn't venting at the arrestees. He was angry at the French Quarter's 8th District police force. "I can't believe they got on the radio talking all that shit," he said, his voice getting louder as he spoke. "What the fuck was that? Getting on the radio and telling us there was a riot heading our way. Like it's a joke to them. 'Oh yeah, we got this big crowd throwing trash cans and rioting, so look out. We've got them heading right your way.' That is severely fucked up."
A junior officer grunted in acknowledgement. Several pairs of handcuffs were unaccounted for, and he was trying to sort out whose handcuffs were whose. The police couldn't agree who'd arrested which of us.
"If they really had a riot on their hands," the Sergeant continued, "the only thing they should'a been saying on the radio was 'send units.' They should've taken care of it their damn selves. And instead they send it to us! Well, we handled it for them alright. The Fifth District takes care of a riot. We cleaned up their shit for them." He laughed bitterly. "And now we get to ride this horse allll the way home."
The Krewe of Eris' 2011 parade had not been a riot by any stretch of the definition. It had been a parade. It had been a jubilant and unruly parade, as it has been every year since it began, but also like every year it had been a positive, joyful, and creative parade, not a protest, an angry march, or anything remotely violent. The elaborate, lovingly handmade floats and costumes we had spent days and in some cases weeks on were made for celebration. This year's theme had been "Mutagenesis," partly in response to the BP oil disaster, and was meant to explore how new birth and change could arise from toxic horror. Prevalent in the parade were sea creatures and shorebirds, some adapted by their creators from earlier use in the Krewe of Dead Pelicans, Halloween and other parades and events reflecting the New Orleans spirit of responding to hardship by redoubling creative and constructive energy.
The parade had been without incident for the first several blocks, wending through the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. People seemed happy to see us as they always are. As we passed below one building, a resident threw out handful after handful of letter-pressed Carnival bookmarks to us from a high window, swirling like giant confetti. They said "Carnival 2011 -- This is Heaven."
After crossing Elysian to Frenchmen St., the parade gained a tail, an Eighth District police car that followed some yards behind the parade with its lights on but no siren. I was a participant in the parade, and I figured this police escort to be two things, neither of them alarming or unreasonable. One, it was keeping tabs on where the parade was heading, which struck me as proactive and (from a police point of view) understandable. Two, its blue-light presence at the back of the parade served as a warning to civilian vehicle traffic that the road ahead was not passable. When the parade paused for twenty minutes or so at the intersection of Frenchmen and Burgundy, the car paused with us.
At some point during this pause, one parade participant did something to attract the attention of the officers inside the car-- I didn't see this, so I don't know what it was-- and he was arrested without incident.
The parade then moved forward, finally, following a course that took it into the French Quarter. We didn't get far; it was clear the Eighth District didn't want us there. Some neighborhoods are okay to parade in, and some, apparently, are not. The response to Eris entering the Quarter was swift and markedly more aggressive. A helicopter swept us with its spotlight-- wait, does NOPD have a helicopter now? There was definitely one present. Police cars blocked off two sides of every intersection, directing the parade into two right turns: up one block and then directly back out towards Esplanade. All the cars at the intersections had their sirens going at ear-splitting volumes, as did the now-multiple cars behind us, which accelerated and roared their engines. Many paraders broke into a trot and then an unnerved run. Some crowded onto the sidewalks.
The sirens drowned out the marching band and made verbal communication impossible, even at a shout. As the tail cars nipped at the parade's heels, some younger paradegoers began dragging the gigantic French Quarter residential trash bins out into the streets to slow the police behind us down. Just as promptly, other paradegoers put the cans upright and dragged the cans back to where they'd been. Still scrambling to stay ahead of the police cars, the trash draggers and trash replacers angrily chided each other. Of course, it was impossible to hear what anyone was saying over the sirens, leaving this an argument conducted in pantomime. This lack of a unified response is perhaps not shocking in a parade named for the Goddess of discord.
The cop cars and their super-sirens kept on us all the way to the dividing line between the Fifth & Eighth districts, where they vanished. Many paradegoers had dropped out, but the couple hundred people still left cheered, as if being shunted around by effective crowd control was a victory. "Whose streets? Our streets!" chanted some as they fled back across Elysian.
It had not been a particularly fun visit to "Da Quarters," and my partner and I discussed heading home, but we figured we'd stick it out, since there were only a few blocks left before the parade was officially over anyway.
A little way up Chartres St. a police car approached the front of the parade, driving the wrong way on the one-way street. Occupying the center of the road, it drove straight forward into the front of the parade until the parade flowed around it on all sides, and then it stopped. The siren came on, then turned off, and the parade continued past the parked police car while the officer inside it glowered silently. This was bizarre, but also much more like the buffoonery I expect from our boys in blue, and for that reason was almost comforting.
At Chartres and Franklin, there was a melee.
At Chartres and Franklin, cars swarmed into the body of the parade. They tried to block the parade on all sides, and the parade ballooned in the middle as the cheerfully oblivious marchers in the back marched forward into those discovering the obstruction. There weren't sirens, but there were a lot of flashing lights, and the officers were shouting profanities as they laid into a confused and frightened crowd. Why had this ambush happened? Where had this come from? What the fuck was going on?
One man was grabbed and thrown against a car. "He cut my tires!" an officer was shouting. "I saw you pull that knife out your own pocket!" someone else shouted back. Two female officers began deploying giant waves of pepper spray as they backed away from the crowd, the spray arcing up and drizzling like fog over the parade as well as the officers in the center of it.
Officers were lashing out with batons and tazers, chasing down those who ran. Eris, like most things that are great about Mardi Gras, is a family affair, and there had been parents present with their children of all ages. If there had ever been an official demand we disperse, nobody I've spoken to heard it.
The escalation was instantaneous, ongoing and exponential. Police were flinging people around, and onlookers' cameras were smashed. A tazer boomed-- it sounded like a gunshot-- and began crackling. Then another. Then another. People were screaming in fear and running in all directions. As the officers pursued and tackled the scattering parade-goers, a few angered paraders circled back to the now-abandoned cruisers, opening the cars' unsecured rear doors to let out those who'd been confined. Further down Chartres, arrestees struggled free or were yanked free by groups of their friends as the situation spiralled further out of control. A man ran down the street in handcuffs.
"Lost my taser!" one officer panted, running past the car inside which your humble correspondent was quietly cuffed. "The fuck's my goddamn taser?"
"Someone got my baton!" shouted another.
More cars roared into the intersection and fresh officers jumped out, tense with anticipation and excitement. They ran out into the darkness with their batons extended in their hands. Officers who'd suffered the effects of pepper spray were staggering like drunks back towards the blue-lit ring of cop cars, shouting and cursing while holding their faces and rubbing their eyes.
One girl was grabbed and arrested for taking photographs. Several brass band members had their instruments taken from them and deliberately broken. Twelve paradegoers that I know of went to jail and a whole lot more went to hospital.
We arrestees were in the fifth district station for what seemed like an eternity, but was actually just over four hours. We could hear the police in the offices arguing loudly about the reports. A senior officer was scolding them and emphasizing how important it was that the reports agree with one another.
In the back hallway where we kneeled, different police came and went, some shouting at us, some ignoring us, some giving us brief paternal lectures on our misconduct. Some threatened us, and some were relatively friendly. None of the cops seemed happy, and there was a clear sense that things had not gone well. "All this shit happened because one of you childish fuck-ups started drawing penises on cars," an officer told us. "You know that? We don't care if you parade, but we got a call saying someone was drawing penises on cars. That's the cause of this whole situation. How you feel about that? You proud of drawing penises on cars? You some grade-schoolers?" The next day when I got out of jail, the friend who gave me a ride home had a penis painted on the side of her car. She, a parader herself, had apparently been among the victims. The penis washed off with soap and a sponge.
Back in the station-house, one of the arrested paradegoers had been tazed so long and hard that he had urinated on himself. "Y'all motherfuckers stink," a Fifth District sergeant said. He was not one of the relatively friendly ones. "Y'all make me sick. It's disgusting. You oughta be ashamed of yourselves, stinking like you do." He left the room and returned with a big can of room deoderizer in each hand. "Y'all some foul motherfuckers," he said, walking up and down the line and spraying the tops of our bowed heads with the intensely scented aerosols. Tightly cuffed, we cringed away as best we could. "Y'all some filthy motherfuckers."
The ordeal was a mix of menace and unintentional burlesque. Addressing one of the brass band members who'd been arrested-- their large instruments had made them slow to escape, leading to a disproportionate number being detained-- an officer told him, "I saw you slash them tires. Oh yes. I saw you. Think you cute, using your mouthpiece on them tires. Well we got your mouthpiece, there's DNA all over it." In spite of this compelling physical and scientific evidence, that particular musician has yet to be charged with slashing anyone's tires.
Later, the same officer came back into the hallway waving a gleaming clean pair of safety scissors. "This it right here," he said triumphantly. "This here is what you used on them tires." He waited to see if anyone would react. "Yep," he said, "you in trouble now." He went back into the office.
At one point an officer who wasn't in uniform came and looked at us silently for a while without speaking. When he did speak, his voice was quiet. "This is a job to me," he said, making eye contact with each of us. "Okay? I want you to know that. This here is just my job. I come here, I do my job, I pray god I go back to my family at day's end. That's all. Arresting anyone don't get my dick hard. I want you to know, it don't do nothing for me. I am just here to do this job." He stared at us longer, seemed about to say more, and then left.
One arrestee had a broken cheekbone and a large, matted bloody wound on the back of his head from being beaten with a police baton. Later, this injury would require surgical staples. On the wall where we were kneeling, there was a growing bloodstain behind his head where his injury had bled onto the drywall. "He's bleeding," said another of the arrestees. "Officer, that man needs medical attention."
"I say you could speak? Shut the fuck up," the officer currently watching us replied. A couple of the arrestees had earlier been demanding lawyers, and he had told them to shut the fuck up too. He was big on that phrase. Earlier, he'd told yet another arrestee, "I'm a trump your charges to the sky if you don't shut the fuck up."
An officer walked in cradling his hand and smiling. "You need hospital?" The silence-oriented officer asked him.
"Yeah, I'm going in a minute," said the officer with the wounded hand. "I knocked motherfuckers tonight, tell you what."
"That hand definitely look sprained," said the shushy officer. "Please tell me you tagged one of these assholes."
"Nah, none of these here," the officer said, looking us over. "I don't think it was none of these. But whoever the fuck it was, he damn sure know it." He poked his knuckles tenderly. "I'm a be out on this one for a while," he said, and grinned. "Might have to stay home Mardi Gras."
When we finally got transported to OPP, we sat for a while on an outdoors bench with all the other unfortunates who'd been arrested that night, many of whom still had Mardi Gras beads on. One of the boys from the Fifth District station house, a scrawny white officer from Indiana, waited with us until we could be processed into jail.
"I'll tell you now, they're gonna take your shoes," the scrawny officer warned us. "I mean, they're bad in there. They're like savages in there, and I guarantee you guys won't go before a judge before Thursday at the soonest. Courts are closed for holiday. You'll be in there a week with those animals. Really, you guys will be lucky if getting your shoes taken is the worst thing that happens. You know what I mean? I pity you. It's bad in there. I wouldn't want to be in there."
None of lost our shoes. Except for the pitiable cases who were visibly mentally ill, the other people incarcerated at OPP and the House of Detention were on the whole quite good-natured. Our fellow inmates found it hilarious that we were covered in sparkly makeup and had been arrested while parading. "You ain't shot nobody? You just paradin' with a band? Ain't that some shit!" The fact a number of us had been playing in the brass band went a ways with the inmates as well. "Man, the fuck they always arresting horn players for?"
There was a certain amount of teasing about our bizarre and scanty outfits, but unlike our experience with the paid professionals of NOPD, the inmates didn't threaten us or bully us. There was only either camraderie or indifference.
Only a couple of us had ever been arrested before, and OPP was new to all of us. These more experienced inmates explained to us newbies how the byzantine processing system worked. They showed us how to operate the janky telephones, warned us which guards were mean, and when the food cart came around they made sure we "parade folk" got sandwiches. Don't get me wrong, OPP and HOD are miserable to be in, but after the Fifth District, the Sheriff's department staff were quite frankly a fucking relief.
When we went before a judge the next day to get our bail set, he remarked on the unprofessionalism and sloppiness of the police reports, noting that they lacked any detail and didn't address who did what. That is, the random assortment of charges we'd each been given weren't linked to specifics in the police reports, which were almost all just exact duplicates of each other, characterizing the parade in general terms as a violent and dangerous riot.
The last word should perhaps go to the Sheriff's officer whose job it was to process us into the jail. His cubicle, at the end of the long outdoor bench, was the point where the NOPD handed us off to the custody and responsibility of the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office. When the arrestee with the broken cheekbone and the matted, bloody head was brought in, the Sheriff's officer in the processing cubicle shouted so loudly he could be heard on both sides of the doors.
"Oh, fuck you! What the fuck is this shit?" the Sheriff's officer exploded. "You trying to slide him in here, busted up like that? Oh HELL NO. This man is going to the goddamn hospital!"
The Fifth District officer responded inaudibly.
"The fuck you are," the sheriff's officer said, still loud. "We are not taking this. No way. He's going straight to the hospital. No way you're passing your fuckup off on us."
by Don Hoppe
Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011 at 11:35 AM
Interesting, disappointing, and alarming.
On Mardi Gras I was PHYSICALLY ACCOSTED by some of the religious fanatics that were swarming the Quarter. I was walking down Bourbon Street, minding my own business, when I was GRABBED from behind by two guys who started preaching in my face. I have come to expect the street preaching, but I will not stand for these people putting their hands on me! I reported this to the police, who simply blew it off-- one cop even told me I was lying about it. They obviously have "more important matters" to attend to!
Trouble for artists
by Vatican Lokey
Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011 at 1:27 PM
email@example.com Faubourg Marigny, New Orleans
My husband of 19 years has been doing the Blue Nile Costume Bazaar for years and was there when the out-of-district NOPD closed down that event. In that case, the cops were obviously playing with the event and throwing their considerable weights around. For the last 17 years I have been facepainting for a private event in the Royal Sonesta and have never had any problems. On Lundi Gras night, I left for my home in the Marigny heading up rue Royale. My face was painted and I was carrying a large bag with my tools & supplies. Without warning I was physically stopped by an NOPD officer who demanded to see my entertainer's license, telling me he was going to arrest me. If I had not had my personalized invitation from the event identifying me as their facepainter, he would have taken me into custody. All I was doing was walking home, but apparently I was an 'easy target' for police harassment.
My sincerest condolences to all the good members of the Krewe of Eris.
Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011 at 5:26 PM
You need to contact attorneys immediately. Protect your rights, and avenge your wrongs. Places to try: ACLU, state/county bar associations, firms through google searches, etc. Make no mistake - these guys are going to blame you hard, and you need a strong advocate on your side. With the high publicity nature, you might get pro bono representation through the ACLU or another rights group.
Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011 at 7:02 PM
As a former resident of the state of Louisiana it does not surprise me to hear of this matter. I will never forget the first time I went to visit Louisiana, more specifically New Orleans. I was living in Houston at the time and some friends of mine were going down for Southern Decadence and had asked me to go with them. I did and for the most part had a great time. The only issue I had was when I was trying to cross over Esplanade and there was an officer parked on the side of the rode in his SUV that decided it was a good time to pull off and speed at me when I hit the middle of the road. As he was driving at me I noticed there was a can in his hand, but couldn't really make out what kind of can it was since I had to dive across the rest of the street. Come to find out our boy in blue was drinking a beer, in uniform, on duty. It is quite unfortunate what happened during the parade and the reaction of the police, but being New Orleans and the state of Louisiana in itself it's not really a shock nor a surprise.
Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011 at 8:07 PM
firstname.lastname@example.org 504-598-1000 2030 St. Charles Avenue
Agreed. Consult counsel. The Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments provide causes of action for civil rights violations such as denial of peaceable assembly, wrongful arrest and detention, excessive force/police brutality, denial of rights while in police custody, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and cruel and unusual punishment. Monetary awards can include compensatory and punitive damages.
Love from RVA
by Mo Karnage
Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011 at 8:40 PM
email@example.com 2005 Barton Avenue Richmond VA 23222
This sucks a lot yall. People in Richmond are thinking about you.
It seems to be a bad year for artists.
Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011 at 11:23 PM
Myself and four other people were served summons and threatened with jail on Decatur this year. My girlfriend and I sat down to be serenaded by two musicians and the police gave us all tickets for performing. I asked him, "If I'm found guilty of this does it mean I'll finally be able to sing?" He smirked like he knew it was ridiculous.
The musicians told him they had applied for the performing permits and that they were denied and that no one they knew had been able to obtain them. The officer just repeated the statement, "Go down to city hall and get a permit."
It's not just the police it's the politicians who pass anti-music ordinances. New Orleans needs her musicians and artists, and needs to continue the ongoing negotiation that has kept the culture of NOLA a living breathing entity since the city began. We need to speak up effectively and protect the beauty that seduced us all in the first place.
by D Wood
Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 at 4:17 AM
This is surprising to me and very frightening. I am an artist and I am glad I did not apply for my license to sell art in the Quarter as I am a small woman. I am sorry for all the trouble caused in the wake of this parade, and for anyone that was unfairly harrased. I was under the impression I lived in a city where artist's rights were forefront. I guess that standard is deteriorating.
Hopefully people will stand up against this bullshit.
Keeping Our Streets Safe
by Adrienne Parks
Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 at 11:31 AM
firstname.lastname@example.org 504-899-6938 2705 Chestnut Street
This whole insanity breaks my heart. As a New Orleans writer (who, thank God, so far remains at large... at least the NOPD haven’t started arresting people in their own studies yet!) this city is both my inspiration and my torment. How can a city so rich in culture treat its artists so poorly? What else have we got? Heavy industry?? The events recounted by “anonymous” regarding the Eris parade are indeed a slapstick tragedy, but unfortunately, they’re not unique. Whether they’re closing down the Blue Nile costume bazaar or harassing Mardi Gras Indians and second line parades, it seems the New Orleans police are far more interested in throwing their weight around against “safe” targets like masquers and musicians, than they are in arresting murderers...with which this city is currently overflowing.
I wonder how many people were killed in New Orleans on Sunday night while all our brave boys in blue were busy protecting us from overturned trash bins and spray-painted penises?
by Amanda Wilkinson
Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 at 12:16 PM
To the anon author of this story. I sent an email of your story here to Nola.com that printed the chopped version of the story. If any of you that was arrested come forward to the reporters of NOLA then they will print everything that happened. They at the newspaper are interested in knowing everything that happened! email@example.com is one of the two people you can reach! Lets get ya'lls story out there and make the N.O.P.D. pay for their actions. We the people of New Orleans have been quiet for way too LONG!
The Blame Should Go Higher
Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 at 3:49 PM
I think that the actions of the police were perfectly in line with the thoughts of the City Council members and even the mayor. The police do take liberties, of course, but if it's mandated down with the mayor saying, "Keep the Quarter clear of the riff-raff this year," then imbalanced cops will have clear consciences for errantly spraying mace into a crowd.
Take the lack of getting a musical permit, for example. That sounds like an orchestrated attempt (pardon the pun) to keep the music in the streets as sanitized as possible. What about art permits? Or food vending permits? How are those being affected? I remember a few years back talking to a local food truck owner talking about how Jackie Clarkson had come down and shouted at him that he needed a permit. When he showed his permit, she said she was going clean up Frenchmen. Now, she sits in the City Council. A bad place for a gentrifying woman to be.
Now I can't say why the costume event was shut down on Frenchmen, but I doubt that it was in the hands or even the decision of a couple of "beat walkers". Make sure you call and complain to your city council members. And to the mayor. Tell them to stop what obviously seems like an orchestrated attempt to "clean" the city up. Tell them you know what they're up to. I know I'll be doing that right now.
Saw it all if anyone needs a witness
Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 at 5:28 PM
I live on St. Roch and watched everything go down in the intersection. If am more than happy to make myself available to anyone who needs a witness.
To Don Hoppe: I was also attacked by those folks. Punched and thrown to the ground actually. I was standing watching them when I saw 6 of them on top of one guy beating him up. I started to run toward them screaming STOP, when another one of them grabbed me by my boob and pushed me back. When I threw my drink in his face and told him to get off me I got punched in the chest and thrown to the ground. Folks told me to call the cops but we see how much help they are! Anyway, a friend happened to take pictures of these guys and I found the guy who hit me in the pic, so if you want to take a look email me.
independent police monitor's office looking for comments on this event
Friday, Mar. 11, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Have information about this use of forc? Call 681-3217, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on Facebook
by Dorian Bennett
Friday, Mar. 11, 2011 at 11:59 AM
Coco60024@aol.com 504 236-7688 1445 Pauger St
A friend of mine and I were walking up Chartres St. when we saw this walking parade enrout in our direction. It looked beautiful and full of the spirit of Mardi Gras/ certainly not a dangerous crowd as a whole. We quickened our pace as someone was waiting for us and we did not want to get absorbed into the crowd even though it was an appealing thought for a Mardi Gras moment. Now I am happy we did move quickly due to the harn inflicted on the group. Sorry to read this about our NOPD.
This on FB
by A Local
Friday, Mar. 11, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Would someone from out of town or with an anonymous FB account share this on Facebook? I was going to but then realized I am afraid to. Please share and then post a link here....
by your friend paul
Friday, Mar. 11, 2011 at 2:20 PM
Thank you for writing this up, i was there and thought police conduct was absurd. I was not aware that most of the band got arrested, that is despicable. they were damn good.
Video of Cops Pepperspraying people
Saturday, Mar. 12, 2011 at 4:48 PM
Here is a youtube video that shows cops continually pepperspraying people for no reason, including people taking pictures of police violence, as WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ALLOWED TO DO UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.
There are also other videos on the page to watch of the crazy actions of NOPD.
Jackie Clarkson's Happy
by indira ganhi
Saturday, Mar. 12, 2011 at 8:05 PM
AA, if that is indeed a video of NOPD pepperspraying this crowd, will you please post the name of the video instead of the link? I'd rather search youtube for the video than follow a link posted anonymously.
Jackie Clarkson is a boil on the ass of creative and expressive people of New Orleans. But she's not working alone there. Time to hold all of City Council and the mayor's office accountable. Let's please express our displeasure at the crackdown on creativity. This is not a police state unless we allow it to be.
Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011 at 1:57 PM
the title is:
Krewe de Eris Parade, March 6th, 2011, New Orleans
by Ro Mayer
Thursday, Mar. 17, 2011 at 7:00 PM
email@example.com 504-861-7936 40 Neron Pl, New Orleans, La. 70118
Let first say I am sorry for the unfortunate tur of events that occirred on the Friday night before Mardi Gras at the Krewe f Edris walking parade.
I have refrained from commenting on this unfortunate situation until now. I have chosen to comment here and now because Krewe of Dead Pelicans' name is mentioned in your post. I have not commented before becasue I am not an attorney or a parade expert, nor a member of this lose knit organization.
Let me say that in founding a Krewe and inviting one and all in a posting on Facebook, I learned a lot about kreweing and parading in New Orleans. Fortunately, many came out of the ether to advise and support that effort at that particular time.
(There has been virtually no support since. I do not know the reason for this. Many of the issues that prompted it remain relevant. I feel I have done nothing wrong. Anyone who feels different is welcome to contact me and enlighten me)
One important person who advised on setting ujp the Krewe of Dead Pelicans Funeral Procession for the Gulf of Mexico was Anne Marie Coviello. She made sure I knew I needed a permit for the parade in no uncertain terms and guided me through the process of getting one. Sammy Kirshaw also came out of the ether and paid for the parade permit. It costs $750.00 and allowed for up to 600 people to parade escorted by 2 police cars and 2 motorcycles.
We paraded in broad dayllight on route posted on FB and handed out at the parade itself. We marched at a non regular parade time of year on a non traditional parade area for the most part. The route was designed by Anne Marie and approved by the police at the time of the permit aplication 2 weeks before the date of the parade. the route was attached to the application. I caried it with me in the parade. I have to say I felt much better and safer, for myself and for the participants, knowing I had a permit.
The police met us prior to the inception of the procession. They held traffic for us at all intersections. They stopped traffic for our procession at every turn, street and intersection, including at least 4 street cars for us while we held a memorial service for the 11 dead men of the rig on the steps of Gallier Hall on St Charles Ave. for approx 15 minutes before resuming our way to the end of the parade and the Tar Ball. They deflected all the aggravated motorists whom the parade inconvienced.
If you or anyone you know has ever looked at the Krewe of Dead Pelicans Do it yourself parade instructions on Facebook, you will note that a parade permit is recommended, no matter where you are parading, New Orleans or elsewhere.
I have recieved several requests to lead parades for the 1st anniversary of the Spill. All of the people making the request are under the impression that it is their constitutional right to parade where ever they see fit. All are unwilling to pay even one penny towards a parade permit or parade liability insurance. They have no clue how to parade safely. Several seem determined to parade anyway where ever they please. I expect to read about that inthe paper too if thry do so.
I di not know any better either when I began my parade endeavor. I am not leading any parades for the 1st anniversary of the spill. I feel that is unfortunate. The time is too short to properly plan it now in any case.
My interpretation of the "right to parade" is that the Constitution grants the Right of Free Assembly. I do not interpret Assembly as = to parade, or movement. Many individuals who do parade and second line, have told me it does. There are no legitimate organizations, attorneys or police advising me that is a right. And I have inquired. Look to attys for further advide on that issue.
As an informed parade founder and admin, I am not willing to take the chance, nor expose myself and my fellow participants to the possibility danger, liability, arrest and or worse. I have been derisively called the Ms. Manners and the Martha Stewart of Parades for leading a protest parade with a police escort. There wer lots of WTF comments over that .I take such as high praise actually.
Every legitimate parading organization follows these rules and still horrible incidents occur from time to time. Shootings on St Charles, float fires. and a brick in Al Hirt's face come to mind. When this happens, police presence turns out to be a good thing.
I repeat that I am saying here that I am sorry this happened to the Krewe of Edris, but not entirely surprised given much of the advice I recieved going into planning a similar event.
The group would likely have been safe to assemble with in the parameters of, and parade in, or on, the first 6 blocks of Bourbon and Royal, and in most of the Quarter while it was closed to traffic for Carnival, and down Frenchmen from the river to Washington Square, with out a parade permit, during the two weekends leading up to Mardi Gras, Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras.
Other than then, it is a risk to parade without a parade permit. It is also a serious and often overlooked risk to parade with parade liability insurance.
This has historically been true for the Mardi Gras Indians and other groups for as long as I have been aware of them. I am almost 60 and have been coming to Carnival in New Orleasn annully since I was 2. I have family who rides in multiple parades and a band unit. I have lived here since 1974. So I have a clue.
I hope this comment is taken as helpful and in the spirit it is intended. I have not posted this on my own pages as it is really not an issue connected to me or to Krewe of Dead Pelicans. I will now be savinng it as a note on my "black n white photo" profile in the event I wish to revisit the issue. I have been asked my opinion and for a comment by others, however. So this is what I think for whatever it is worth. My appologies in advance to anyone who takes offense. I have no better suggestions or way to handle the matter. I hope to maintain good relations with all parading organizations and individuals. To do otherwise is foolish.
Please note I always use my real name here, on Facebook, and when commenting elsewhere. I feel that is important and imperative if one wants to count and be taken serioulsy.
I hope the Krewe of Edris decides to parade again in the future. I hope they take the proper measures in doing so to insure all members are safe and that everyone has a good and safe experience.
All are welcome to friend me on Facebook. You will find I have 2 profiles there. The "black and white" profile icon is where oil spill discussions and posts originate. The "red" profile icon was meant for my business postings and friends and is supposed to be primarily real estate related.
All are also welcome to join Krewe of Dead Pelicans II which is open for membership. The original Krewe of Dead Pelicans site is over the FB allowable 4999 membership by 800+ members. This kills off the email function. It needs to be reconstructed. I have so far not been up to the task of figuring out whom to individually delete. If someone out there has a workable solution for that, please feel free to share it with me.
If you have actually read this far, congratulations. You are a real trooper.
Happy and safe parading in the future.
Krewe of Dead Pelicans
Thursday, Mar. 24, 2011 at 5:11 AM
I posted this on my facebook profile in the middle of reading it. No need to ask; there are real people in the world with a real awareness of the abuse of power going on in various departments of public service. I went to New Orleans recently to see some metal bands with friends and found that I could not visit a store I'd longed to see because it was shut down as a result of bad press from Eris. I need not illustrate further the utter insanity of this atrocity.