NOLA Notes: Stupid and senseless

Every time I’m offline for a day, all hell breaks loose somewhere. Today it was in New Orleans. There was a second line parade in honor of Mother’s Day. As you may have noticed, we love our parades.

During the parade something very stupid and very senseless happened:shots were fired and 19 were wounded, one of whom is an acquaintance of mine, Deborah Cotton aka Big Red Cotton.Deb is a transplant from LA who has been a tireless booster of New Orleans brass band and street culture. In fact, she recently launched a web site, New Orleans Good, Good about all the things she loves about our city and its culture. Today something bad, bad, happened to her. She is apparently in stable condition and is expected to pull through, but all I can say is this: sheee-it.

Lots of people are mounting their soap boxes about this incident, some are ranting while others are trying to make sense of it. Ranting may be in order, but there’s no way to make sense of something this random, stupid and senseless. It will not surprise me one bit if our Mayor and Police Chief try to blame the second line itself for the violence. They’ve done it before and Deb Cotton has written about that in the past, so I’ll let her have the last word:

In response to shootings that occurred at second lines in ’06,
Superintendent Riley raised social aid and pleasure club parade permits
to six times their pre-storm amount of $1,200, a fee hike that was not
applied to White Mardi Gras clubs even though similar incidences of
shooting have occured during their parades such as the Muses parade in ’04, the Bacchus parade in ’07, and the Krewe of Crescent City parade in ’09.The ACLU fought and won several cases on behalf of the Social Aid and Pleasure Club Task Force and parade permits for the SAPCs were eventually reduced to $1,985.
The Fox news article is not an isolated incident of a bias reporter
getting it wrong. The local mainstream media in New Orleans has a long
history of racial bias against the Black community in general and second
line culture in specific. One would think that weekly parades which
tie up traffic in large swatches of the city for four hours at a time
would at the very least merit local media announcements of parade routes
and times. With the exception of this blog, which I published on
Nola.com before migrating it here to Gambit online, the local media by
and large ignores social aid and pleasure club culture – except in
instances when it attempts to equate second line parades with
lawlessness. In a city that has a majority Black population, it begs
the question of motivation behind the press’ wholesale omission in
coverage of a century old African American tradition that hosts annual
half day parades every Sunday for nine months out of the year. The fact
that these events rarely get positive coverage in the mainstream media
is consistent with the attitude of neglect and ostracism that catalyzed
these benevolent societies back in the 19th century with their mission
of providing assistance and resources to the Black community during
segregation.

4 thoughts on “NOLA Notes: Stupid and senseless

  1. Elspeth Ravenwind says:

    And for anyone who tapped in to last year’s “Rising Tide” Deb was a panelist. I am hoping she is ship-shape soon! I want to believe this senseless mess WILL turn the NOPD focus to y’know, addressing violent crime, (and not just with crime scene tape) and off of the lack of music permits…maybe put serpas back on track for his PROMISED reduction in violent crime…not that he made his benchmark, let alone deadline… 🙁

  2. adrastos says:

    She also moderated the brass band panel the year before and did a splendid job.

  3. Elspeth Ravenwind says:

    Or am I misremembering last years? I’m so squirrelly of late, I may well have put Deb in last year’s RT when it was the year prior… Sorry if I got it wrong… Lots of stuff on my mind tonight.

  4. adrastos says:

    She was a panelist last year as well.

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