Errors at Eris

Mar 9, 2011 by

Sunday night I’m checking the Tweeter Tube when I see this:

macfitte: Cops just shut down Krewe of Eros (sic) blocking them at Esplanade then Franklin then Port. Arrested several. Knocked down several.

Further tweets from my friend told an awful tale of the end of the Krewe of Eris’ march:

Near riot at Port and Chartres. Cops causing stampedes, people falling, others in cuffs, people shouting Let them go. Let them go…  Chartres/St. Ferdinand those Eros (sic) who ran the blockade were followed with lights and sirens, then several were tasered, finally maced.

It was the thick of Carnival parade season, and this is usually the time when the police tend to have crowd control better in hand than they do the murder rate.  You have any part in ruining the cultural spectacle this city puts on and you’re kicking this town’s tourism cash cow (or should I say its golden boeuf gras?) in its private parts.

The 5th District has also not had the best of reputations in the area of law enforcement.

So who’s bad?

The 5th’s bad!

Pepper spraying and tasing a parade’s members and its spectators doesn’t even happen to the Mardi Gras Indians much these days…and, when there are police encounters like at :30 in this video, they are annoyingly disruptive, not catastrophically destructive and ready to slam anybody trying to document their public actions.  The March 6th conduct of officers of the 5th is currently under review, including their taser use….but what is going to throw a wrench in the works in terms of lasting reform in the 5th District could well be the Krewe of Eris’ reputation for conflicts with the NOPD (check this Open Sound recording of a 2009 police breakup of Eris’ parade in the Quarter) and for parading without a permit.

Neither side here looks like it is totally blameless, but hey, nobody’s a total angel, especially around Mardi Gras.

I, too, urge anybody who witnessed the terrible events of that night to call the police monitor at 681-3217.  Please come forward.  It is only through a collective response that change will come.  Further eyewitness accounts can only bolster a fairer assessment of the situation – even if nothing comes out of talking with the police monitor, speak up in any way you can.  This is your city, too.  High time we all acted on that.


Update, 3/10: Varg weighs in on Discordia at The Chicory.  Well worth a read.

Anudder Update, 3/10, 5:09 PM: The Gambit on Twitter passes on more video of the Eris 2011 ending.

3/11: More from Lord David here.  Everyone has the right not to be treated the way the 5th’s officers have been treating the paradegoers and the ARK occupants.  Speak up. Please.

3/12: Drake Toulouse with his two cents on The Rail…

On several occasions, I’ve been to the Iron Rail and the Ark building and enjoyed my experiences there. I thought it was a tremendous asset to a vibrant and diverse community, and the shutting down of that building troubles me greatly. It’s existence was one of the larger reasons I have been planning my move back, my return to the city of New Orleans, a city I love so much.

A number of writers have also commented that the Iron Rail should have had the proper permits.

I see the point, yes…but at the same time, there’s certainly something contradictory about a bookstore that advocates the end of government applying to the government for permission to be open. I get it. People in the anarchist community feel differently about such ideas. A collective I’d been involved with in Chicago got permits because the Chicago PD would have closed it down the moment they opened their doors. A collective in Berkeley got permits as well, for the same reason. The Iron Rail for whatever reason chose otherwise, and had been open for several years, so there was probably an assumed understanding, rightly or wrongly, that they would be left alone…and it would appear they had been until the NOPD decided they finally had cause to do otherwise.

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