Oh, we’ll be watching!
well. what. a day- so far. I can’t even tell you everything that has transpired as it would require too many words here, but suffice it to say, the French Quarter has temporarily joined the current reality – but only because it was forced to do so. But that is its main purpose- to gather and to connect; if it doesn’t do THAT, then why keep it at all? So I am glad it does do that well still. And can get better at it.
I have seen and heard many wringing their hands all week over the news that the Take Em Down Nola/ Black Lives Matter leaders have decided that tonight that Jackson Square will host the citizenry of their city and I guarantee that some have been ridiculously locked up in their homes and stores all day frantically reading FB for clues as to what is happening a few blocks from their front door. To their credit, others are calm and interested in what is happening at the rivers edge (I have spotted many, many FQ residents and business owners) and are out here listening. And the other 6000+ people or more here from across the city and across the region are less concerned about their windows and more about their lives and their neighbors’ lives. Today’s over-zealous locking of the park within Jackson Square to protect their favorite ol’ Andy statue is compounded by the news that, as of 5 pm, we see the police setting up very limiting barricades everywhere in the Square, telling everyone they cannot have bottles of water out for folks, or any other items on the street. And yes, we hear that the police have stated that they have moved piles of bricks that were stashed (so odd THEY spotted these “bricks” and there are no pictures of these dangerous stashes and are telling business owners that there are “people arriving from all over the country with buses lining Canal Street” which I’d like to see some evidence of before I commit to THAT conspiracy theory. Listen- the outside agitators label? I’ve been labeled that in my life and so I know how it gets thrown about I don’t disagree AT ALL that it IS true at some level, but lets also not believe everything the authorities tells us that seems to play right into their hope that people will turn on each other out there and also give up. And the one thing our NOPD should know how to spot and handle -after years of Carnivals parade routes – is a big group of folks spoiling for a fight. They have closed many of the surrounding streets off to vehicular traffic and are on every corner. So they need to do the job, and do it without escalating fear needlessly with stories of piles of bricks and buses lining Canal Street or shooting tear gas into the peaceful crowd.)
But if you hope a march will be a lockstep show of polite disagreement, to just safely and carefully dance at the police state’s ball in order to feel better in 20 minutes and then go home meekly to rejoin the capitalist bread line, then you are actually gonna be disappointed. Yeah shit gets heated (for example, a thrown item just now, but the speaker chills everyone down- “we don’t need no m’fn police; stay calm. ….I’m going to ask you sir, please remove yourself from this black-centered place.. and white allies? walk with him til he makes his destination”) So folks are able to keep it calm it when they have the space and the agreements they need.
Protest is about exhibiting and working through active trauma inflicted on the body politic by authorities but it also allows for refined and situational organizing that is a beauty to behold when done well. And when done well, it offers new leadership, new power centers, and pushes policies into previously off-limits ground that makes the world we all live in a better place. Organizers like Take ‘Em Down NOLA and #BlackLivesMatter will lead us to that better place.
Some thoughts this morning about what happened last night in New Orleans (yes, it’s going to be a thread): Before the confrontation on the bridge, there was a two-hour rally in Duncan Plaza and a two-hour march that took us up St. Charles Avenue, down Jackson and then turning onto Magazine Street. I saw organizers calmly address a few who were unruly. Throughout the march, there were calls to maintain discipline, periodically they would stop and raise one finger in the air as a sign to the crowd to regroup. I saw no violence or damage. Crowd was taking care of each other. Throughout the march, the NOPD blocked traffic by stationing their cars one block back from the protesters.
When we reached the onramp to the Crescent City Connection, the ramp was clear and it appeared that NOPD had stopped traffic. I’ve heard people say the protesters should not have been on the Crescent City Connection bridge. I don’t understand that argument, but I’m open to hear the reasoning. If it was appropriate for them to take St. Charles Avenue or Magazine Street, what makes the bridge different? The CCC also has a history that gives it weight as a site of protest. After Katrina, Gretna police blocked the bridge and fired weapons to prevent a group of black evacuees from crossing. The Justice Department decided that the officers did not break the law.
4 I don’t understand NOPD’s decision to block bridge. I hope they explain today. The standoff lasted an hour. If they let protesters passed, I believe it would have caused a shorter disruption to traffic. Other than as a show of force, I don’t know what the NOPD accomplished by confronting the protesters. I can say NOPD endangered the protesters with their actions. By stopping the movement of the march, people start bunching up closer. Social distancing was not happening, although nearly everyone in the march was wearing a mask. My colleague and I were trying to stay toward the edge, both to observe better and maintain more distance. The guardrail on the CCC, however, is low and that would be a hell of a fall. I moved us into the crowd, since it felt safer. I was worried that if there was a panic in the crowd, people could be shoved over the edge and die. The NOPD’s use of teargas could have set off that panic. The NOPD tweeted “the crowd refused to comply with three orders not to attempt to walk across the CCC.” This is not true. Maybe leaders at the front were given orders, but the crowd was told nothing by NOPD. Before we fell back, I was a few yards from the police line. I could see the row of helmets. I heard no orders from the police. Nor did I hear anything when we moved farther back. After the tear gas was fired, most of the protesters retreated. Many people were encouraging people to slow down, walk and not do anything that might cause panic or chaos. I was surprised as we left that the NOPD allowed traffic to enter the CCC while it was occupied by protesters. When we arrived, the onramp was clear. When we left, it had a line a vehicles with a semi in the front. Although the cars were stopped and many seemed supportive of the protesters, allowing traffic onto bridge seems like it would endanger both the protesters and the officers. I asked Mayor Cantrell’s office about this, but they still haven’t responded to my email from last night. At the base of the bridge, the organizers had stationed bike taxis to take away anyone who was injured. (End thread)
I have been gathering photos of different ironwork motifs in all four quadrants of the Quarter and will be researching them further when I am able to get to the wonderful HNOC’s Williams Research Center.
Here are all of the (18) monogram and initial motifs I have found – so far.
I have found them on Burgundy (2), Dauphine (1), Bourbon (1), Royal (5), St. Louis (1), Chartres (3), at the Pontalbas, 2 different motifs on the Skyscraper at St Peter and Royal, on a modest brick house on Dumaine (where the AP scrollwork from the Pontalbas is on the gate transom of a house in mid block for some mysterious reason) and two on Esplanade. Most are found on second or third-story balconies, but a few are on front doors, and a few others are on a gate.
Thanks to The Collins C. Diboll Vieux Carré Digital Survey at HNOC I was able to research each location to see if I could find a likely reason that particular monogram or initial was added. I am also searching for other history books to find other information as needed so I will continue to refine and add to this list in the next few weeks to capture each monogram and its history.
Have been long confused by description of the Bosque House: “The central panel of the rail has a most graceful arrangement of scrolls in the character of the best 18th-century work and in an oval at the center appears the monogram of Bartholome Bosque, curiously backward when seen from the street.” It doesn’t seem backward any longer.
Yet, in the 1930s pictures of the scrollwork it does indeed look backward in the picture:
Love the description too:
The wrought iron railing of this balcony is perhaps the finest feature of the façade and is comparable to only three or four other examples in New Orleans — the Cabildo, the Pontalba House, and the Correjolles House at 715 Governor Nicholls. All these railings are of about the same date and are all probably the work of the same craftsman, who, in the case of the Cabildo and the Pontalba House is known to have been Marcellino Hernandez, a local blacksmith of great skill.
I went to look at 715 Governor Nicholls and its ironwork certainly resembles the Bosque House:
Next up: the anthemion or palmette motif.