Policing the police

 

Thanks to MaCCNO for posting this today. An extremely important piece!

 

“I witnessed numerous instances of private patrols harassing French Quarter street sellers, so the French Market Corporation and other businesses that paid into these patrols could monopolize the historic neighborhood’s tourist market. Once, I heard that a New Orleans police officer issued a ticket to a street poet selling custom-written poems to tourists. I looked up the incident and indeed, the officer issued the ticket. When I searched for body-worn camera video, I discovered that none existed. Upon further investigation, I learned that the officer—who was in uniform, performing a police patrol duty and not guarding a business—was detailed to a private patrol. He was neither issued a camera, nor required to videotape the encounter.

I searched records for other officers similarly detailed to privately operated police patrols and found numerous instances of them issuing tickets for “quality of life” crimes such as blocking sidewalks. These were thinly veiled attempts to remove homeless people and artisanal sellers from the Quarter, so they did not disturb tourists or divert business from its shops and “street markets” such as the French Market, an open-air market near the banks of the Mississippi River.”

My Year As A New Orleans Consent Decree Insider

The Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans (MaCCNO) is a locally based non-profit that has worked at the intersection of culture, social justice and policy for the past 6 years. MaCCNO advocates on the behalf of the city’s musicians, culture bearers and performers. We collaborate with, organize, and empower the New Orleans music and cultural community to preserve and nurture the city’s culture, translating community vision into policy change, and creating positive economic impact.
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Ensure Master Plan Protects New Orleans Music and Culture

E-mail or call City Council by 5 PM July 26th

We’re almost at the finish line, but we need your help!

Groundbreaking amendments to New Orleans’ Master Plan that would protect musically, historically, and spiritually important cultural sites; allow historic music venues to re-open; and help establish a soundproofing grant program are on the verge of passage, but we need more people to contact City Council by the end of the day Wednesday (the 26th) to ensure they do!

Several preservation organizations have come out in opposition to our amendments, the re-opening of historic music venues in particular. One group, Louisiana Landmarks Society (who twice sued in support of the racist Liberty Place monument), has gone so far as to say New Orleans culture has no place in historic preservation!

Please call and/or e-mail City Council in support of our amendments. If you like, you can use the following message:

Dear Councilmembers:

I am writing is support of all of the Master Plan amendments submitted by the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans, particularly amendment 1.D. “Protect Important Cultural Sites, Activities, and Traditions” in Chapter 6, Historic Preservation, which has 4 parts:

1. A comprehensive survey of existing musically, historically, and spiritually important cultural sites should be completed, and sites should become eligible for protection.

2. Allow historic music venues to be reestablished at sites where such former use is identified.

3. A grant program for soundproofing businesses, similar to a façade grant program, should be developed and implemented, with an emphasis on music and barrooms.

4. Encourage businesses and facilities that promote New Orleans culture through music, entertainment, dance, art, and oral traditions.

Please vote in favor of MaCCNO’s amendments to preserve and develop the culture of the City, and help the economic well-being of our musicians, artists, and culture bearers.

Thank you
[your name]

Contact the City Council here:
Stacy Head, At Large, shead@nola.gov, 504-658-1060
Jason Williams, At Large, jasonwilliams@nola.gov, 504-658-1070
Susan Guidry, District A, sgguidry@nola.gov, 504-658-1010
LaToya Cantrell, District B, lcantrell@nola.gov, 504-658-1020
Nadine Ramsey, District C, districtc@nola.gov, 504-658-1030
Jared Brossett, District D, jcbrossett@nola.gov, 504-658-1040
James Gray, District E, jagray@nola.gov, 504-658-1050

Oppose the 40 million boondoggle for Bourbon street and bars

We the undersigned are united in opposition to the proposed “Citywide Public Safety Improvements” plan as currently written. While crime is a real problem in New Orleans, the answer is not investing $40 million dollars in surveillance cameras, security barriers, street improvements, and cultural commodification. Instead, we should be investing in economic and cultural opportunities for all of our residents. As Louisiana already has the highest mass incarceration rate in the world, we have a heightened responsibility to avoid any initiatives that could lead to increased profiling or arrests. A true ‘Safety Plan’ for New Orleans should focus on proactive approaches to addressing crime developed in conjunction with the community and drawing from our culture….

To read more and to sign, go here.