Friday, July 22, 2005

Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office

Ok, this is the bag I found under the house on Sunday, the 17th. It's a bag from someone's personal effects, left under my house apparently on their way back from the pokey. It had some clothes in it, I would have thrown the whole thing out but thought you might like to see it....O.P.C.S.O. is the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office. yep, probably the dude sleepin on the porch. Cindy wiped out the anti-napping glitter.....time to reload.
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This is Stephen Peychaud. He's my neighbor on Gov. Nicholls street and he entertains my egragarian side as a homeowner. I can't see much progress right now but mowing the lawn
is cathartic. Problem is, I don't have a mower and no place on the property to store one yet.
(Don't ask where the fence guys are....) So Stephen loads his in on the weekend and we sweat our asses off. Here he using the backup mower cuz we busted the new one already. He calls this trusty old workhorse "old reliable"....but I know I am going to owe him a mower.....and a weedeater.
His M.O. is to keep a low profile, we both dig that approach. He and his nephew, Stafford, have been under their house next-door jacking up the sills to stabilize the foundation/frame. It's nuts that they are crawling under the house for hours. I will try to get a picture.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

July 10 ~ Funeral for a Chief ~ Photos and Article By Ian McNulty

This spring there was a bad rumble between the police and Mardi GrasIndians during a traditional nighttime gathering of the brightlycostumed maskers near one of the city's housing projects. Meetings werecalled to talk down the situation in the aftermath, including a hearingbefore the City Council in late June. One of the speakers from theIndian camp was Big Chief Tootie Montana, age 82, the most prominentand beloved of the Indian chiefs and known in his circles as the chiefof chiefs. Surrounded by supporters, he began an impassioned speech tothe City Council about the need to ease the tension between cops andthe community. He said "I want this to stop," then collapsed to thefloor and a short while later was pronounced dead at Charity Hospital.Heart attack.

Mourning rituals by the Indians and others began almost immediately.This weekend was his actual funeral. On Friday night he laid in stateat the city's opera hall, the Mahalia Jackson Theater, for visitationand Saturday morning a service was held at St. Augustine church in theTreme. Thousands gathered outside the church for the jazz funeralprocession to the cemetery. There was a brass band, with musiciansattired in traditional caps, shirts and ties, and what looked to beevery Mardi Gras Indian in the city turned out in their feathers andjewels. Naturally, the heat was broiling and even people in lightclothing were dripping sweat. The streets around the church were packedfor blocks around by onlookers and the area was buzzing with MardiGras-like energy. There was zero sadness expressed. The air was allbody scents, tropical blossoms from front gardens and wafting dopeclouds. Men were selling beers and mixed cocktails from tailgates,women hawking sweet potato pies and pralines from baskets held overtheir heads in the crowd. People were wearing hats decorated withclippings Montana's newspaper obituary.

The coffin emerges from the church and Indian whoops and tambourinerattles light up. The coffin is pushed into a black, horse-drawn hearsecarriage with a tuxedoed driver at the reins. The brass band sets up adirge and every one creeps forward with exaggeratedly slow steps as theprocession begins. The pace is miniscule, step by step in the blazing,crowded heat. Around the hearse, Indians and others in zoot suit paradefinery and ornate sashes chant and sing. The brass band picks it up alittle with "Didn't He Ramble" and "I'll Fly Away" as the processioncrosses under the bloodstream pattern of oak limbs lacing overEsplanade Avenue. Continuing through the Sixth Ward, shade disappearsand the heat intensifies. People run into corner bars and run out againwith beers and napkins to mop brows. Dancers and mourners wearing suitsare soaked to the lapels in sweat. Jostled in the crowded smallstreets, people bump into parked jalopies and burn themselves on thesun-sizzling steel. Dressy parasols and plain black umbrellas sproutup.

The procession makes a brief stop at Montana's home and loops around beneath the elevated interstate en route to the cemetery, St. Louis No.2, a walled and crumbling city of the dead fronting the Iberville housing project. The hearse clops slowly down the cemetery's main thoroughfare, past all the brick vaults and whitewashed tombs. The rotting smell of the recently interred is evident. People are crawling onto tombs of various heights and packing into the slim alleys between them to get a look at the coffin leaving the hearse, carried by soaking wet pallbearers to a tomb recently opened for the chief's arrival. He goes in, and last words are spoken, the Catholic lord's prayer recited. A kid falls from a tomb in a crumble of bricks and dusts himself off. Mourners pass by, placing a hand on the coffin inside the tomb and,when they're done, two workers from the archdiocese haul out a bucketof mortar and tools and wall in the coffin one aged brick at a time. Everyone disperses back through the Treme, where a repass reception is waiting in the community center. The criminal sheriff has sprung for lunch and at either end of the center's indoor basketball court twodozen prisoners wearing "O.P.P. Inmate" T-shirts spoon out bowls of redbeans roped thickly with sausage over rice, overseen by armed deputies. Around this time in the afternoon it became certain that Hurricane Dennis and its 130 mph winds would strike somewhere else along the GulfCoast, sparing New Orleans once more.

Some pictures of the above are below.

Goons v. Glitter

So an new goon has been on the property which would'nt even be worth mentioning except he took the board of the porch window. He ripped it off, so I replaced it with a much thicker board before I took off out of town. I don't mind the old guys who go back there and drink beer, they don't hurt anything and they'll have to move on soon.

However, on June 25th when I was over there to show my friend Andrea the project, this new fella crossed the line by breakin into the place. It's important to keep the crackheads out. In fact, it's a miracle this house hasn't been inhabited by them in the many years it has been empty. Our best guess is around 15 years. I feel responsible for keeping it that way for the safety of
my neighbors and they can't wait for my fence and the electricity to be up. My neighbors have both said this to me. They will be relieved.

If you have been through any kind of robbery, then you know that you tend to start thinking
'booby traps'. There's a fine line you have to walk in executing booby traps, you can't cause anyone to be hurt but you do want to deter. I went out and bought six cans of spray glitter and coated the porch thoroughly. I took a photo but it's the glitter didn't show up.

I just imagined the street thug comin back there at night and taking a nice relaxing nap on our porch and then being totally covered in glitter. Rather an embarrassing state for street toughs And any real New Orleanian knows how impossible it is to get that glitter OFF. My neighbor and I suspect that maybe since they shut down Joe's Cozy Corner, the thugs that did biz over there are looking for a new storefront.

T.S. Cindy really did a number all around town. No power uptown for a day, trees down all over. I had to replace a board up in a really icky part of the house, I couldn't do as well as the old board but it's band-aids until construction. I also had a dead bird to pick up, it was rather awful. I had a down moment about the hassles of this waiting period.

So, while the architect is drawing, I'll try and gather some stories from around the neighborhood.