This is my old house I lived in on the corner of Burgundy & Spain. This photo is from a visit last year, it was the first time I'd been back since Katrina. The neighborhood I lived in was pretty much the same condition (*it had been almost 2 years since the storm) but there were a lot of big painted X's on homes still. I was told by my host that most families choose to leave them up to remember what happened instead of erasing the memory. This apartment was my favorite I ever rented. You can't really go wrong with 9 foot, floor to ceiling french windows on two sides of the building and beautiful ancient wooden floor boards over a foot in width. The week I left New Orleans I was robbed at gun point and our car was totaled by a hit and run accident, all within 24 hours.
It's just that kind of city. Wild. Feral. Unforgiving. Inspiring. Magical.
New Orleans itself has massive history of magic, the type that can only happen there. Along with the magic comes brutal crime that haunts the streets. I'm in no way the person to speak to conditions there. But I do have my time spent and a large community of friends I consider my family that have chosen to stay there and make good for the city.
Last night on facebook I was stunned when I read an open letter about the current terrible things happening in the city posted by my friend Mikro Naut who lives there (he is originally from Milwaukee). Then a second red flag today was when I got a call from another New Orleans connection saying it's just terrible what's going on, similar to the post-Katrina and summertime crime waves. The city seems to be out of control with a lot of the attacks, fires, rapes and robberies go unreported since folks don't want to deal with the uncaring police.
I guess I am posting this as a plea to those of you who may read my blog and have friends or family there to pass a long this letter (below) that Mikro Naut gave me permission to repost and pass along to you. For me this is about raising awareness. We need to keep our community and loved ones safe.
My deepest condolences go out to those who have lost friends or family in the recent violent crimes in New Orleans. I would like you to know that even though I am far away and may not know you, your loss saddens me and I hope answers and resolution come soon with the new year.
On a lighter note, since bad news always brings people together, I was excited to learn after talking to my friend today about dark sad things, about a new NOLA baby on the way this week. I am sending out MASSIVE waves of safety, love and smiles for my friends Drew & Rose who are giving birth at their home this week with guidance by visiting (left the city due to Katrina) friends Dan, Amy Moon and their one year old son Olai . Smiling as I type this, I can not wait to meet their new family.
REPOSTED with permission of Mikro Naut
12.28.10 via facebook
just recently moved to 13XX Marigny, NOLA 70117. feel free to write an actual letter, its fun. been back in town for around 10 days after a visit to austin. My new neighborhood is in the middle of the most intensive and brutal period of crime that I have ever seen here. Home invasions leading to beatings, rapes, stabbings and slashings, and robbery.
the perpetrators seem to be targeting punks (crusties, oogles gutterpunks, etc.) who don't really have money. not being a very profitable target is the first and often only line of defense for this demographic. in addition the attacks show no sign of abating, with a new death, box-cutter attack, home invasion or what have you occurring nearly every/every other day. also after the the 2nd line for one of the shooting victims a squat burnt down killing 8 or so other kids (many of whom were at the memorial) inflicting a new loss on an already traumatized population. This constant emotional bombardment has left many shell shocked and so stunned that plans of action or even discussion of the different elements of the situation are beyond many of them. there was a meeting today at the "slab" down by the tracks attended by about 50-70 punks and also a homicide detective working on the case by the name of Packer. Many were glad for his presence as it gave us an opportunity to find out what the cops know and ask questions. I felt that his being there created a focus on the law enforcement element of this crisis, in an atmosphere that did not allow for serious questioning of the NOPDs role in the situation, or their frankly shitty history in relating to street kids. Detective Packer acted unaware of the animosity between the cops and the kids, even unaware of the fact that two kids were hauled away from in front of the murder scene of their friend for completely non criminal reasons. One of them, a female, when released had to walk home alone at 4am. I was not able to hear anything useful in any of the statements or answers from Packer. He was a guy with the shitty job of relaying the uselessness of corrupt bureaucracies to respond to emergencies and in that, he reminded me of a PR person. Anyway, I want to find out if there is anyone who has a collected body of info. Things are happening so quickly that its hard to keep track and no one has anything close to an overall picture of this constant psychopath BS. I would like to start with a map of the hood with locations, a timeline, a description of the crimes, times of day etc. hit me up or point me in the right direction. My across the wall neighbors were the victims of one of the home invasions, so this shit is not just close to home, it is home. the police are useless.