Tuesday, April 13, 2010

French Quarter Political Beating

Saturday 2pm: A discussion on today's more robust NOPD report is posted here. All future updates on this story will be in the form of new posts.

Even Mo' 2:40pm Thursday

Well, NOLA.com ran a report on the incident on the front page, with pic. That was sometime around 2:30pm today. When I went back to get the link at 2:40pm, the article had dropped off the front page. I checked the "Crime" section, and it wasn't there, either. I found it on the "LA Politics" front page.

That's not exactly top billing.

The date and timestamp of this article is April 15, 11:21am. The NOLA.com front page has several articles published later, but I don't understand how the lead will just vanish in 10 minutes time. This is not the first time I've seen this happen on NOLA.com.

Again, I do not want to sensationalize the one attack more than any of the other brutal attacks that took place elsewhere around the city this weekend. I'm ready to take to the streets against crime in another march whenever y'all are ready. This is ridiculous.

Hayride continues to focus on the Iron Rail Book Collective, driving so much scrutiny that Iron Railers' Facebook pages have been moved to private and YouTube videos of the protest have been taken down.

Which is silly, because the videos were the very opposite of incriminating.

They also link to Pat Dollard's interviews with the NOPD. First of all, right wing bloggers combing through town may have some interesting ramifications on the local blogging community (the same way calling "commentors" at NOLA.com "bloggers" has changed local perception). If any of them are around, I'd love to have a beer with them and explain some background regarding many New Orleans' issues, including the politics involved in Friday's protest and why faith in the local media and police is at a low ebb right now. They keep making it look like the only people who have liberal opinions around here are the gutter punks.

On an unfortunately more sinister note, the SLRC attack is already being used to justify reprisal violence against political adversaries. From the comments section of this post we read.

And they [punks from the left] need to be prepared for a lot of those [ass-kickings] in the very near future. They are beginning to cross a line that [they] don’t have enough ‘troops’ to support.
Context added.

As someone who's already been berated for having an Obama sticker on my truck, I absolutely fear that violence will only beget more violence. I know it requires an awful lot of faith right now, but let the police do their jobs.

Upperdate 12:45pm

Hayride continues their focus on the Iron Rail book collective as the instigators for the assault. While I have no problem with them urging the police to investigate this group as an interested party, I fail to see much illegal behavior in those videos. Heckling and booing political opponents on the public streets is not a crime - from the Tea Party to the Iron Rail.

Assault, however, is a crime. I don't feel like this coverage has gotten us any closer to the actual participants in the attack than it has attempted to assign overimportance to a small group of Faubourg Marigny residents, marginalized real political differences under debate and dispute in New Orleans, and served as a vehicle to demonize people of different poltical stripes and New Orleanians.

Even through the terrible camera work, you can see dozens of people just walking up and down the street unfazed. New Orleans is a city of vibrant street theatre and spectacle, after all. I also saw a significant police presence indicated in front of Brennan's from the early videos through the late videos.

As far as Iron Rail being behind the whole Second Line, I don't think it is a difficult thing to turn New Orleanians into the streets in support of Charity Hospital and UNO.

Finally, why is no one looking at other possible reasons for this attack? New Orleans is under consideration to host the National Republican Convention in a few years. I'd think Bobby Jindal is a huge supporter of that idea. Wouldn't making the city look like a breeding ground for anarchists undercut both New Orleans' chances to host that event (sending millions to some other city) and Bobby Jindal's prestige? I mean, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but as long as we're talking unprovable theories, let's get that one out there as well.

Update 9:15pm

Hayride just keeps updating, with more mixed results.

NOPD release a report. Names of the victims are withheld, but we know what is going on. Assault occured in the 600 Block of St. Louis at 10:45pm. Looks like the couple had left Brennan's and were heading for Decatur Street.

Location and time are important. First of all the protest started at 5:30 in Lafayette Park, about a half mile away. This incident took place more than 5 hours later. Even if the photographer quoted was watching the crowd around 8pm, that still means nearly 3 hours elapsed between an alleged scuffle outside Brennans and this attack.

As far as location, that intersection is usually a quiet block, which isn't necessarily a good thing as more people = more witnesses & chances to intervene.

I was in the French Quarter on Friday night, along with thousands of other folks as French Quarter Fest was wrapping up around 9-9:15pm. Decatur was packed, Bourbon was packed, but Chartres and Royal had much lower traffic. Moving from one side of the Quarter to the other at 11:30pm, there were far fewer people on Royal. But not so many one would think an attack could take place without any bystanders seeing something happen. We'll get more of this story, it is only a matter of time.

Though I wish Hayride would note the information in the NOPD release about the functioning crime cameras. But that is something the "lefties" in town have been complaining about, so it may not fit with other parts of that post.

Case and point: as for all their information about the Iron Rail book shop, and all the anarchist individuals who look important because they have Facebook pages, seldom updated weblogs or other such internet presence, I don't know what to tell you besides 'we have internet cafes with free wi-fi.' If there is some sort of serious insurrectionist movement taking place mere blocks from where my friends and I dine and drink, I haven't heard a thing about it.

What sends me into a blind rage is Hayride's dismissal of the

standard left-wing boilerplate; it howls about the replacement of the Orleans Parish public school system with a large-scale charter school experiment (which incidentally has been a wild success) and it demands that the Charity Hospital system, Louisiana’s antiquated system of state-run hospitals which are in the process of being dismantled, be reconstituted with special emphasis on rebuilding the “Big Charity” hospital in New Orleans.

In other words, health and education – the two main gripes leading to Friday’s protest. Morrison apparently has been organizing to save Big Charity for some time.

Wait. I can think of a better link for the "Save Charity Hospital" crowd. And I know more than a few individuals going beyond the "left-wing boilerplate" to examine the wild successes of New Orleans' charter schools. (Please see also Liprap and The Lens or any of my blogroll to the right labeled "Crescent City." Just because you disagree with us doesn't mean we don't exist.)

----------Original Post Below---------

And Right-Wing Blog Coverage

In a town as interconnected as this one, I'm surprised it took until Tuesday for me to hear about this. And it took someone from Ohio to clue me in.

GOP fundraiser and her boyfriend savagely beaten on Friday night at the SLRC. Happened in or near the French Quarter, apparently. Somewhere around Brennan's. Presumably because of their politics.

I'm going to say this: if there was an attack, I don't care if it is politically motivated or not. The perpetrators need to get caught and brought to justice. Period.

The culture that makes physical violence an acceptable means of expression is worthless and needs to end. I don't care if that culture comes from gangsta rap or politicians and their supporters talking about "reloading," it needs to stop. End of story.

On to the next one.


The next story involves the Hayride's comprehensive online coverage of the incident at this time. Thank goodness they are continually updating, but just looking at the progression suggests there is a huge disconnect from coverage of the attack (which is outrageous) and the surrounding situation (which is being made out to appear outrageous to the untrained eye). And, of course, not every post that links to the Hayride will update their own posts appropriately.

If there are attacks, one being too many - and this weekend there were far too many - I want to hear about it from my local news sources. I want to hear about it from my local police. On this, the author of the Hayride and I completely agree.

And if the Hayride stuff had stopped there and only posted pertinent documentation (police report, hospital records, etc), I'd remain in complete agreement. But they took it further, and made it a hit piece on New Orleans, the people of New Orleans, the positive culture of New Orleans, and people who disagree with them politically.

One meme is that there was no informative local coverage, even though they keep linking to local coverage. No, that coverage is not as informative as we would want it to be. But you can say that about any subject involving Southeast Louisiana. We're a city under sea level, remember? A lot of folks nationwide are fighting the battle for more informative coverage of the news, we are glad you are onboard, and we thank you for not thinking this is specifically limited to a certain location.

I mean, I know a lot of folks think news of a bunch of Tea Party protesters beating up an African-American couple would make national news immediately, we have reason to believe that would not be the case.

First of all, examine the linkage to New Orleans' "lefty blogosphere" and a post on Gentilly Girl's experience in the French Quarter. If the quote counts as liberal "hate speech," we've got some significant failures in communication. I mean, if someone's fat ass shoves me off a sidewalk, they're getting called an fmook without regard to political affiliation.

And if that political affiliation made money and ran campaigns denigrating my status as both an American and a human being, I'd likely be more vociferous in my denunciation.

Also, there is the video to "give you a taste" of what the protest looked like "early on."

...ummm.... What? Maybe I missed something. Go watch it. I'll wait. Really.

Was there some bad behavior or raging anarchists or troublemakers I was supposed to see in there? That looks more well behaved than most Tea Party videos I've seen, and more New Orleanian - brass bands, people dancing, signs. The folks who are interviewed account for themselves very well. You might not agree with their opinions, but they are more informed than the cameraman, who doesn't appear to understand why people want Charity Hospital reopened, even now that HCR has passed. (Hayride at least makes some mention of the peacable nature in a later update.)

In addition, there was a link to an anarchist webpage I've never seen before, by an organization I've never heard of, claiming to be involved somehow in the Second Line. Ummm. Anarchists don't care about health care, Charity Hospital and UNO. WTF?

Did the SRLC really expect to have a convention in New Orleans and not hear about the 2005 flood, the disasterous response, the shuttering of Charity Hospital, the massive cuts to mental and adolescent health care in New Orleans, and the slashing of funding for UNO, all taking place in a city in the midst of a police civil rights scandal? They're lucky the convention was on French Quarter Fest, because protesters really would have outnumbered conventioneers had it been the weekend before last.

Are you kidding me? What does any of that have to do with the attack? None of those concerns are discredited because troublemakers got out of control and attacked somebody. Find the perpetrators (maybe GOP types will finally understand why you should fix crime cameras), throw the book at them, and send them to Angola for assault.

I wonder what information others in the NOLA blogosphere have to add.

Again, thanks DADVocate for kicking this off.



DADvocate said...

You make a good point about the Danziger Bridge incident. One of the most disgraceful moments of the past 10 years. I'm still amazed that authorities felt they stop the peaceful, lawful movement of U.S. citizens.

Blogs like Gentilly's are good for making points about blogs but Keith Olberman, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow do the real damage, Olberman in particular. Almost daily he says something worse than what Hannity or Limbaugh say in a year.

You've been waving the "cool it" flag for a while now. I applaud you for that. I didn't expect a post from my comment but you made a good one.

Jan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cousin Pat from Georgia said...


I can almost excuse not knowing about things that happen in Tennessee and Virginia - it is a big internet after all.

But this assault took place a block from where I was standing at one point (twice), as I was in the Quarter on Friday night with several thousand other folks for French Quarter Fest.

I had friends from out of town and local who doubtlessly moved through that area. And I'm not happy about any assaults taking place in this city.

Which is also to say that, many other assaults took place over that weekend, but this one is getting much more attention because of the victims and the political motivation. One wishes we could examine all of these attacks with such bandwidth.