NoLA Rising Answers Silence is Violence Call to Action!

Jan 2, 2009 by

“Heart of my heart, Love will never die.” – “Willow”

Our friends at Silence is Violence have asked for a call to action to make the point that New Orleanians are tired of the inaction when it comes to making our city streets a safer place to enjoy. Here is NoLA Rising’s response to Sileve is Violence in their call to action:  We are surrounded by violence and little seems to be happening to ensure public safety. There are many culprits in why this systemic failure continues to occur and while we’d like to point fingers at all of the particular leaders who day after day do nothing, it would get us no further. In the spirit of NoLA Rising, we plan to take action through art!

NoLA Rising is honored to announce a Paint Party at the house of Susan “Willow” Schroeder, who tragically lost her son to murder in 2001. To lift her out of her grief, she painted a work of love in dedication to her son David, making her home a beautiful expression of the love she felt for him. Sadly, Willow’s tale is like so many other New Orleans crime tales, where no one has even been arrested in the shooting death of her son.

The tragedy doesn’t end there, however. Willow and her partner Feather, have had to endure discrimination for all of the emotions that have been painted out. One neighbor has tried consistently to have the house cited and actively researches ways to fine them. Quoted in the Times-Picayune, the neighbor questioned: “Does a grieving mother have the right to deface public property because her son died?” because she painted the sidewalk immediately in front of her house. New Orleans is a city that welcomes unique forms of expression and NoLA Rising believes that this is a house worthy of such expression.

Long keeping in the philosophy that “Art can heal the wounded soul!”, NoLA Rising sees the individual struggle of a loving mother a perfect place to host a paint party against the senseless acts of violence in New Orleans. It’s a way to create something beautiful out of tragedy and I can think of no other way to voice opposition to the lackluster response of those responsible for maintaining public safety. We will also be joined by our friends at United For Peace who will also be creating artwork for a fundraiser to build a center for mothers and families of those lost to tragic violence.

Please, honor a fallen son and a fallen brother by joining NoLA Rising and United for Peace at David’s House in the 3000 block of St. Peter around noon, Saturday, January 10th (2009) for a paint party. Bring your paints and prepare to make artwork that can proudly be displayed outside of homes across this city. Make artwork that inspires change! Let your voice be heard through artistic expression. Let the leaders of the city know that you will no longer tolerate the scourge of violence that plagues New Orleans. Paint the change you wish to see!

Flyer for download on Flickr

Times-Picayune article on Jan 2, 2009

‘If you can locate, there is also a WDSU video on YouTube about their house.

Thanks everyone, re-post if you like, and we hope to see y’all out there January 10th

NoLA Rising


  1. So sad to hear about the narrow-minded response to this mother’s artwork. While no one wants wild grafitti everywhere, murals and artwork are a part of a vital city — especially one as unique as New Orleans. NOLA is like San Francisco, it’s not neat, it’s a riot of colors and styles, and artwork fits right in. Our murals, especially those in the Mission District, are some of the most interesting parts of our City. Here, Community groups, organize inner city youth to create murals on otherwise ugly buildings. The themes and directions make for some wonderful expressions of a special city.

  2. To my dear friend Rex Dingler;

    While I fully support everything that Nola Rising has done and the wondeful methods through which these things were accomplished, I doubt the real meaningful success of another paint party in dealing with the NOPD, just as I doubt the usefullness of Silence Is Violence asking store owners to with hold a days sales tax.

    I would strongly suggest a very large group of people showing up at the 5th distrcit station, organized and informed, to ask publicly what is happening in several pertinent cases, and vide taping the whole shebang.

    This is not a case of directing voters to another candidate. This is a large group of armed men & women, some of whom have slapped police officers when they were about to be arrested, waved loaded guns publicly while screaming profanity in front of hundreds of children, refused to to do their jobs and threatened citizens (myself included) with arrest for no apparent reason.

    Who the hell pulls guns on a man on crutches for standing on his doorstep, and then makes him painfully lower his crippled ass to the ground with threats of shooting him?

    That’s who.

    While Beauty and Art can transport the human spirit when properly applied, I wonder if the working class under any other police state survived and won the day by painting pictures to give away to passeresby.

    This may create a mild reaction for a while, but so did the march on City Hall two years ago. Now where are we?

    These errant cops need to meet THEIR EMPLOYERS, the citizens of New Orleans 5th district, and account for their miserable performance failure and blatant disregard for laws that they would arrest us for breaking.

    I suggest compiling a list of unsolved cases, and reports such as the one above where a perp was brought to a victims home, and meeting a couple of hundred like thinking individuals at their front desk, asking for answers. Accompanying press would be icing on the cake.

    Who wants to play along?

  3. PS
    Rex, this story is absolutley heart breaking. I imagine this woman’s grief and subsequent labor of love and I am ashamed for the policeman who wouldn’t get out of his car to talk to me after I got slammed into by a drunk driver…the apathetic assholes….all of those who do nothing in the face of these horrors that continue to plague a city apart, a haven for art & music, the Great American Neighborhoods lost in a sea of apathy and violence…

    What are we to do without becoming the soft defenseless underbelly of a city gone mad? Words escape me now…it’s so fucking sad….

  4. Ken Foster

    Lord David,

    As you know, we’ve put out a list of suggestions for people, including what businesses can do while remaining open for the day. Of course, you can do and organize whatever you like. That was another part of our list of suggestions. If you get plans together for something at the 5th, let us know.


  5. Ken Foster

    PS. We now have signs available at Sound Cafe: CRIME HAPPENED HERE. These are printed yard signs. 1000 of them. Strike signs and stickers arrive next week.

  6. Dear Mister Foster;

    I hope I have not (in any way) given the impression that I’m belittling the work that has arisen from the efforts you & Baty have made. Quite the contrary. It is the efforts of the city, and in this case, the 5th district police, that I find falling short of the mark.

    I just read BigEzBear’s post on Bush’s Legacy, and I find that Frank Rich’s description of Bush as:

    “a narcissist with no self-awareness whatsoever. It’s that arrogance that allowed him to tune out even the most calamitous of realities, freeing him to compound them without missing a step”

    …also fits Mayor C. Ray Nagin & Warren Riley to a T.

    I have been in full support of your efforts since first meeting Baty Landis & yourself, a few weeks after waking to the sound of gun shots from Helen’s house. I remain supportive of them today.

    Sometimes, however, enough is not enough. I suggest that the intimidation tactics used on citizens of the 5th district, by the police who should protect & serve, would pale were they confronted with our sheer numbers. Asking them publicly to account for the many unsolved cases of violent crime, and reports of inaction, and documenting that encounter, would give future evidence of their failures or successes, rather then sweeping them under the carpet in the press, while threatening us with arrest for attempting to safely live our lives and asking them to do their jobs.

    A plan is forming. Keep watching this space.

    Thanks again for all of your diligent efforts, Ken. Who can say how bad it would be without them?



    I am currently gathering information, such as the ranking officer’s names and positions, and would like to get actual stories such as those described above, with solid information, as well as a list of unsolved violent crimes in this district during 2008, and perhaps beyond.

    My plan, to date, is to commit complaints of intimidation or lack of response, to a hard list, showing an ongoing enterprise of apathy and failure to perform the duties entrusted to the district police, as well as a list of ongoing law violations committed by them, such a traffic and noise infractions.
    Finally, a list of the names and dates of murdered locals from this district, whose cases remain as yet unsolved, as well as those cases never dealt with, due to the lackluster encounters described above.

    This would be followed by a presentation AT THE 5TH DISTRICT, where this list would be delivered, on camera, and presented to the Captain in charge, or to the Sargent at Arms on duty, addressed to Captain Bernadine W. Kelly.

    A prepresentation meeting would facilitate the reading of said list and recording it unmolested, followed by a quick walk around the corner to present the same list of grievances to the station, itself. By having each individual attendee walk in, say, two by two, (can I get a witness?) and present a copy of the afore mentioned complaint, no illegal gathering would take place, however, our numbers would be recognized by appearence and the sheer volume of copies delivered.

    I understand that no city official is even going to entertain the idea of giving out a permit to do this. I suggest holding this meeting in my loft, which overlooks both the 5th District building and Helen Hill’s front door, and can easily hold upwards of a hundred people.

    The amount of time required for them to respond, and the type of response, would go a long way towards making a point about their willingness to become an effective force for the community. Documenting it in the press, by giving copies of the tape and complaint to TV stations, would bring larger attention to our plight.

    I call upon you not only as New Orleans citizens who have expressed concern, but as actual victims of both the crime we endure and the humiliation we suffer subsequently at the hands of our protectors.

    Interested parties can make contact through this site, or through the Skull Club, at: [email protected]

    “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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