Tag Archives: New Orleans

Former New Orleans Saint Murdered In Road Rage Incident

Why the gun culture is a bad thing. Former DE Will Smith and his wife shot after being rear ended in an auto accident…

Ex-Saints DE Will Smith killed; wife shot after traffic accident

Former Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot to death in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District on Saturday night following a traffic collision, the coroner’s office confirmed.

Smith, 34, was shot after exchanging words with the driver of a Hummer H2 that rear-ended his Mercedes G63 SUV, causing him to strike another vehicle, police said.

Smith was shot multiple times, and his wife, Racquel, also 34, was shot twice in the right leg, according to police. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, while his wife was taken to a hospital.

Smith’s family released a statement Sunday morning.

“On behalf of the Smith family, we are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers. We ask that you continue to respect the family’s privacy as they grieve the loss of a devoted husband, father and friend.”

Police said the driver of the Hummer, Cardell Hayes, 28, has been charged with second-degree murder and that the handgun used in the shooting had been recovered.

Former Saints running back Pierre Thomas was on the scene shortly after the incident and reportedly had been out with Smith and his wife.

Smith was drafted by the Saints with the 18th overall pick in 2004 out of Ohio State. He spent all nine of his seasons with the Saints and last played in 2012. He was a Pro Bowler in 2006 and ranks fourth in Saints history with 67.5 career sacks. He had a career-high 13 during the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl season.

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Posted by on April 10, 2016 in Domestic terrorism


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The New Civil War Rages in NOLA Over confederate Symbols

The defenders of the flag confederate have responded to the New Orleans City Council plan to move some of the confederate memorials in the city into a historical area or park in the usual manner. Death threats, assaults, burning, and vandalism. Indeed the same sort of actions which led they and their flag to be reviled by peaceful, law abiding, moral people in the first place.

Seems to me there is a fairly simple solution to the problem. Instead of carefully dissembling and moving said monuments…Destroy them. A crane and a wrecking ball, or large excavator can pretty much render said memorials to gravel and metal scrap in a matter of minutes. With the added city benefit of being less than 1/6th the cost of hiring a crew to move the objects.

Removal of Confederate symbols turns ugly in New Orleans

Backlash against a plan to remove prominent Confederate monuments in New Orleans has been tinged by death threats, intimidation and even what may have been the torching of a contractor’s Lamborghini.

For now, at least, things have gotten so nasty the city hasn’t found a contractor willing to bear the risk of tearing down the monuments. The city doesn’t have its own equipment to move them and is now in talks to find a company, even discussing doing the work at night to avoid further tumult.

Initially, it appeared the monuments would be removed quickly after the majority black City Council on Dec. 17 voted 6-1 to approve the mayor’s plan to take them down. The monuments, including towering figures of Gens. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, have long been viewed by many here as symbols of racism and white supremacy.

The backlash is not surprising to Bill Quigley, a Loyola University law professor and longtime civil rights activist in New Orleans who’s worked on behalf of a group demanding the monuments come down.

The South has seen such resistance before, during fights over school integration and efforts in the early 1990s to racially integrate Carnival parades in New Orleans.

“Fighting in the courts, fighting in the legislature, anonymous intimidation,” Quigley said. “These are from the same deck of cards that are used to stop all social change.”

For all its reputation as a party city of fun and frolic, New Orleans is no stranger to social change and the tensions that come with it. It was the site of an early attempt to challenge racial segregation laws in the Plessy vs. Ferguson case and home to then-6-year-old Ruby Bridges whose battle to integrate her elementary school was immortalized in a Norman Rockwell painting.

New Orleans is a majority African-American city although the number of black residents has fallen since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina drove many people from the city. Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who proposed the monuments’ removal, rode to victory twice with overwhelming support from the city’s black residents.

Nationally, the debate over Confederate symbols has become heated since nine parishioners were killed at a black church in South Carolina in June.South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds in the weeks after, and several Southern cities have since considered removing monuments.

“There is no doubt that there is a huge amount of rage over the attack on Confederate symbols,” said Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based group that tracks extremist activity.

His group counted about 360 pro-Confederate battle flag rallies across the nation in the six months after the church shootings. Such rallies were rare before then, he said.

In New Orleans, things have turned particularly ugly.

In early January, as it beat back legal challenges seeking to stop the removal, the city hired a contractor to remove the monuments.

But H&O Investments LLC. of Baton Rouge soon pulled out of the job, citing death threats, “unkindly name-calling,” outrage on social media and the threat of other businesses canceling contracts.

One day, several protesters came while H&O workers took measurements. Some of the protesters wore materials “with affiliation to white supremacy groups,” said Roy Maughan Jr., a lawyer for the contractor.

That same day, Maughan said, “a specific articulated threat” was phoned into city authorities warning workers at the monuments to leave for their safety. On Jan. 12, H&O sent the city a letter saying it was dropping out.

Then, on Jan. 19, a Lamborghini belonging to the owner of H&O Investments was set on fire. The sports car was parked outside his office near Baton Rouge, Maughan said.

A national rental crane company the city had hoped to hire also refused to be involved.

The FBI and local fire investigators declined to comment. No arrests have been made.


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Posted by on March 25, 2016 in Domestic terrorism


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New Orleans Vote to Remove confederate Statues Scheduled

Take ’em down!


New Orleans Considers Removing Confederate Monuments

New Orleans is poised to make a sweeping break with its Confederate past as city leaders decide whether to remove prominent monuments from some of its busiest streets.

With support from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a majority on the City Council appears ready to take down four monuments, including a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Their ordinance has sparked passionate responses for and against these symbols, and both sides will get one more say at a special council meeting before Thursday’s vote.

If approved, this would be one of the most sweeping gestures yet by an American city to sever ties with Confederate history.

“This has never happened before,” said Charles Kelly Barrow, commander-in-chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. “I’ve never heard of a city trying to sweep [away] all Confederate monuments.”

Geographers have identified at least 872 parks, natural features, schools, streets and other locations named for major Confederate leaders in 44 states, according to a mapping project. Barrow said more than a thousand statues and monuments and countless plaques also honor Confederate battles and heroes.

What’s happening in New Orleans reflects a new effort to rethink all this history: Confederate iconography is being questioned across the nation, and in some places falling from public view.

“It is a grand scale of symbolic rewriting of the landscape,” said Derek Alderman, a geographer at the University of Tennessee who is mapping Confederate symbolism nationwide. “It certainly represents a wholesale re-questioning of the legitimacy of remembering the Confederacy so publicly.”

Barrow said he and others will sue if necessary to keep the monuments where they are.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to take on these people,” Barrow said. “I’m not going to let this happen under my administration.”

Landrieu first proposed taking down these monuments after police said a white supremacist killed nine parishioners inside the African-American Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June. “Supremacy may be a part of our past, but it should not be part of our future,” he declared.

Anti-Confederate sentiment has grown since then around the country, along with protests against police mistreatment, as embodied by the Black Lives Matter movement.

South Carolina and Alabama removed Confederate battle flags from their Capitol grounds after the shooting. The University of Mississippi took down the state flag because it includes the Confederate emblem. The University of Texas demoted its statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis to a history museum.

In New Orleans, the mayor asked the council to take a closer look at monuments that have long been part of the city’s landscape.

The most imposing has had a commanding position over St. Charles Avenue since 1884: A 16-foot-tall bronze statue of Lee stands atop a 60-foot-high Doric marble column, which itself rises over granite slabs on an earthen mound. Four sets of stone staircases, aligned with the major compass points, ascend the mound.

Above it all, the Virginian stands in his military uniform, with his arms folded and his gaze set firmly on the North — the embodiment of the “Cult of the Lost Cause” southerners invoked to justify continued white power after the Civil War.

Also up for removal is a bronze figure of the Confederate president that now stands at Canal Street and Jefferson Davis Parkway, and a more local hero, Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, who straddles a prancing horse at the entrance to City Park. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard was born in St. Bernard Parish, and commanded Confederate forces at the war’s first battle.

The most controversial is an 1891 obelisk honoring the Crescent City White League. An inscription added in 1932 said the Yankees withdrew federal troops and “recognized white supremacy in the South” after the group challenged Louisiana’s biracial government after the Civil War.In 1993, these words were covered by a granite slab with a new inscription, saying the obelisk honors “Americans on both sides” who died and that the conflict “should teach us lessons for the future.”

The city has estimated it will cost $144,000 to remove the monuments, and says an anonymous donor will pay that cost.

The shootings in Charleston have made these lessons take on new relevance, Alderman said.

“There are a lot of people making a direct connection between a white supremacy group and the effect on African-Americans,” said the geographer, who’s been tracking many examples of “a questioning of the authority that the Confederacy has been given on the landscape.”

Popular culture, Alderman said, is trying to establish how to rewrite “American and Southern public memory in a way that makes room for both perspectives on heritage, and at the same time is fair and just to African-American perspectives that historically have not been recognized.”

The Memphis city council is trying something similar, voting in August to remove an equestrian statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who also traded slaves and led the Ku Klux Klan. Memphis even wants to remove the graves of Forrest and his wife, who lay buried under the statue.


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Allen Toussaint 1938-2015

Another of the New Orleans music greats, Allen Toussaint has passed.

Legendary musician Allen Toussaint dies after performance in Spain

Legendary musician Allen Toussaint died Monday following a performance in Spain. He was 77 years old.

Madrid emergency services spokesman Javier Ayuso told the Associated Press that rescue workers were called to Toussaint’s hotel early Monday morning and managed to revive him after he suffered a heart attack.

But Ayuso says the 77-year-old Toussaint stopped breathing during the ambulance ride to a hospital and efforts to revive him again were unsuccessful.

He was taken to Jimenez Diaz Foundation Hospital in Madrid and was pronounced dead on arrival, El Mundo reported.

Toussaint had just performed at the Teatro Lara before his death.

Toussaint grew up in the New Orleans neighborhood of Gert Town, raised by his parents Naomi Neville and Clarence Toussaint. In at least 20 songs, Toussaint credits his parents as writers.

In the 1960s, he wrote and produced a series of hits for New Orleans artists, such as Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas and the Neville Brothers, among many others. Many of his hits were later covered by pop and rock artists, such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, Ringo Starr and Alex Chilton.

In the 1970s, Toussaint teamed with Patti Labelle and produced the album “Nightbirds,” which birthed the No. 1 hit “Lady Marmalade.” The song has been covered, redone and remixed numerous times by countless artists.

Paul McCartney and Wings also paired up with Toussaint on the album “Venus and Mars.” On that record, Toussaint played on the song “Rock Show.”

Other songs, such as “Ruler of My Heart,” “Fortune Teller” and “Working in the Coal Mine,” are among many that artists covered in nearly all music genres.

Toussaint’s legacy earned him inductions into multiple halls of fame, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011.

And of course Labelle’s classic hit written and produced by Toussaint., with him on keyboards –

With Irma Thomas performing and writing “Ruler of My Heart”

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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Music, From Way Back When to Now


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Good Cop Rescues Lost Boy

Still good Cops out there… Just in case their good works get covered up by the bad.

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Posted by on October 21, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter


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Anonymous Donor Pays to Remove Confederate Statues

More dead Rebs memorabilia to be removed in New Orleans.

Now…About Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va?

The statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard has been spray painted with ‘Black Lives Matter’ on both sides.

Anonymous donor to pay for removal of Confederate statues

An anonymous donor has agreed to foot the bill for the removal of four Confederate-related statues, the city announced in a letter this week to the New Orleans City Council.

It will cost an estimated $126,000 to take down the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis, as well as a monument to the Battle of Liberty Place. The donor agreed to pay the entire cost.

“These four statues stand in direct contradiction to the ideal of freedom enshrined in our Constitution and their presence in our city was meant to perpetuate a false history that literally puts the Confederacy on a pedestal,” Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin said in the Sept. 14 letter. “True remembrance is required, not blind reverence.”

Police Chief Michael Harrison backed the removal of the Confederate symbols, saying in his own letter to the council that the statues have been “flashpoints for criminal activity and civil unrest” and that he can’t afford to “dedicate manpower to protecting inanimate statues.”

He labeled as “particularly shameful” the Liberty Place monument that was “originally commissioned explicitly to celebrate an uprising that that resulted in the deaths of 13 police officers.

One of those killed was Superintendent Algernon Sidney Badger who led the newly integrated Metropolitan Police Department, the first police force dedicated to protecting black residents as well as whites.

“It is a disservice to Superintendent Badger’s memory and those of his fellow officers to allow a monument to the perpetrators of this attack to remain standing,” Harrison wrote.…More…

A Monument to murdering Cops. The “Battle of Liberty Place” was an attempted insurrection by the Crescent City White League against the legal Reconstruction state government on September 14, 1874 in New Orleans, where it was then based.

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Posted by on September 17, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, The Post-Racial Life


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Fats Domino’s Piano, Like NOLA After Katrina -Still Has a Ways to Come Back

Worked on the post-Katrina recovery efforts in NOLA and Mississippi. The flooding not only killed the houses and infrastructure, but threatened to kill the spirit of a city whose residents were used to adversity.The story 10 years after is one of gradual rebuilding, but how do you knit the spirit of the town’s communities back together when so many are gone? The even bigger question though in my mind – is if we can’t even get it right in America, right in our own back yard…How exactly can we get it right anywhere else?

In terms of the Fat man’s pianos, one black, one white – one working fully, one not restore-able…Seems like a reflection of the whole city 10 years after.

The Piano That Can’t Play a Tune

If you could see Fats Domino’s piano today—white and gleaming on a pedestal at the Louisiana State Museum in the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans’ French Quarter—you might think he had been kind enough to donate one of his signature grands to the museum for its music collection. That is, if you were unaware of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, including Domino’s home on Caffin Street in the largely obliterated neighborhood known as the “Lower Nine,” where the white Steinway once held pride of place in Domino’s living room.

Submerged in nine feet of water from a massive breach in the nearby Industrial Canal, it sat for weeks in the fetid lake that covered 80 percent of New Orleans after Katrina. Curators from the Louisiana State Museum raised $35,000 to have it reassembled and restored, and it now sits beneath a spotlight in an exhibit room as if waiting for Domino himself to sit down and play it. At the dedication ceremony in 2013, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardanne said, “His beautiful grand piano, fully restored, will serve as the perfect symbol for Louisiana’s resilient nature and ever-evolving musical heritage.”

Well, no and yes. Despite the painstaking restoration, the white grand piano is unplayable. It is this last fact that makes the story of this instrument such a powerful metaphor for New Orleans since Katrina. It is a tale about persistence in the face of government neglect, cataclysmic disaster, and the painful incompleteness of reconstruction. More particularly, it is a lesson about the importance of preserving the material remains of the city’s past even as it focuses on the future.

These objects—some partly restored, some not—are all the more important in light of the city’s record of demolition of many significant musical landmarks, despite the recent efforts of preservation groups to turn the tide. Louis Armstrong’s birthplace, for example, was torn down in the 1960s to build a city jail. Other jazz landmarks are in grave disrepair.

The history of New Orleans music had an additional vulnerability before Katrina: The homes of the city’s musicians and writers held much of the city’s musical heritage. Letters, handwritten scores, photographs, cocktail napkins, matchbooks, and musical instruments were under the beds and in the attics of working musicians and their descendants. Most of Michael White’s enormous collection of artifacts from early jazz musicians—some 50 clarinets, reams of sheet music, reeds and mouthpieces, and taped interviews with musicians—is gone. White’s house near the London Avenue Canal in Lakeview took in water up to the roof. The only things salvaged by volunteers were some of his clarinets. “They looked like bodies,” White told me. “And the ones that were in cases looked like bodies in coffins. They weren’t really about me, they symbolized New Orleans history and culture and the present state of the culture.”

Tending to the artifacts the storm left behind, as White did, can feel restorative. And it is not the same as choosing property over people, something that does not bode well in New Orleans. “The black working class in New Orleans,” the historian George Lipsitz wrote in Katrina’s aftermath, “has long refused to concede that white property is more important than black humanity.” After the storm, neighborhood traditions like the parading of Mardi Gras Indians persisted, despite and because of the challenges of rebuilding those communities. But the preservation of cultural artifacts after Katrina, such as Domino’s piano, was something of a different job.

As show-stopping as Domino’s white Steinway grand is, it is the opposite of the first piano he played, acquired by his family in the 1930s. That piano, Domino told his biographer, was “so beat up that you could see the rusted metal through the ivory, it had been played so hard.” According to the authors of Up From the Cradle of Jazz: “The Ninth Ward blues built off of pianos and horns.” There was an old upright in just about every small music club in the Lower Ninth Ward. The white piano, on the other hand, was not even Domino’s regular instrument. Instead, it was the one that greeted visitors to the house on Caffin Street and was a favored backdrop for family photographs. The glorious grand piano testified to his rise from a part-time musician and factory worker to one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll.

Domino’s upbringing in the Lower Ninth Ward, surrounded by his Creole relatives, inflected his music. His father was descended from French-speaking African Americans who lived as enslaved and then freedpeople in Louisiana’s sugar parishes. Like many Louisiana Creoles, black and white, they had roots in Haiti. When the Dominos arrived in the Lower Nine, the neighborhood was still mostly rural, with unpaved streets, farm animals, and scarce electricity and indoor plumbing. In a recent radio show devoted to Domino, writer Ben Sandmelobserved the artist’s “Caribbean vocal style” in songs like “My Blue Heaven.” “It’s almost like he’s an English as a second language speaker. It’s a very thick regional accent,” Sandmel said. “If you listen to oral histories of people [from the Lower Nine] who recorded around that time there are a lot of thick accents and a lot of French-isms in the speech.” …The rest here


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