Orleans Parish Criminal District Court at Tulane & Broad

I woke up this morning to gray skies and the tease of rain, so I stayed in bed with my book for a couple of hours. The rain never turned into much more than spit, so I took the bike instead of the car (phew) when it was time to head over to R.’s for her housewarming party. As I was stopped at the light at Tulane and Broad, I looked up at the criminal court building across the street. What you can’t see in this picture is the inscription: The Rule of Law, Not the Rule of Men. Oh, really? And who do we think makes and interprets laws? I spent my morning reading about some of the ways white Southerners worked around the laws (hint: unremitting violence without consequence), and even constitutional amendments, to thwart Reconstruction and reassert white supremacy, with the help of their Northern neighbors. Frederick Douglass asked in 1875, “If war among the whites brought peace and liberty to blacks, what will peace among the whites bring?” We are still seeing the results of that peace, and it is brutal. We can put these maxims on our public buildings, but that doesn’t just make them true, and we would do best to learn our history and keep asking questions. I got back on the bike, toasted R.’s new home, did a quick pedal over to St. Roch to visit L.’s studio, and then back uptown. It’s humid out there, and you can see the haze down every block.

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