I’m still tired after a lot of bike riding yesterday and not enough water, but I decided to ride Rhoda down to the Treme and then to the French Quarter for cake and swimming with friends. On my way home I rode around the Quarter a bit, checking out the crowds for Essence Fest, the big festie in town this weekend. This thing is huge and brings huge crowds of well-dressed partygoers. The other thing Essence welcomes is an incredible police presence. I mean there were police and roadblocks at every intersection along Decatur. There were flashing blues every block or two, a reminder that police are around and watching. When I got to Canal I saw this truck from the NOPD Special Operations Division and many cars and a few motorcycles parked in the same general area. I can’t really remember this kind of police saturation at other events, though Mardi Gras brings the force out impressively. Lots of police generally make me feel nervous and unsafe, and the NOPD has a pretty terrible track record when it comes to ethical behavior. I wonder what sorts of different differences it makes to have the police state so visible this weekend.