Today’s ride took me Uptown from my current digs in the Marigny for lunch with N. and then to the office where I took care of last minute things for my trip to Baltimore tomorrow. I had meant to also stop by the courthouse as the Danziger trial started again, but the skies opened up and kept me and my bicycle in the office for most of the afternoon. I rode home under crazy thundering skies, stopping for a treat and then coffee with S. I had a bee in my bonnet about how little I have been taught about Frederick Douglass–he was one of our premier statesman! Why don’t they teach us that in schools!–and she filled in some blanks for me–friends, man, they’re the best. After a quick stop at home to get the cat out of the rain, I was back on the bike to meet R. and her kid for dinner. I pedaled up Royal as fast as I could to beat the rain, just stopping to take a picture of this sign outside the 8th District police station. T-shirts for sale? Really? I wonder who buys such things, and if the market’s been hit by the fallout from Danziger or Henry Glover or the cops arrested during their own prostitution stings (I thought we had decided to decriminalize!) or the other cops giving instructions to keep a special eye on all the Black men in town for Essence Fest or any of the other scandals showing this to be one of the most corrupt forces in the nation. Nah, I’ll pass on the shirt. After dinner I did my loop around the Bywater, deftly avoiding collision with that driver taking a left turn in front of me at the intersection of Poland and St. Claude. Look alive, people. It’s dangerous out there, but that’s no reason to stay off your bicycle.
I didn’t plan to go back to the courthouse for more testimony in the Danziger Bridge case this afternoon, but after reading about the case and watching that Frontline episode this morning–I’m on vacation–I felt the pull of the courtroom. I hopped on my bike, leaving camera and cell phone at home (hence, no picture), and headed downtown. Continue reading
My excellent summer roomie E. invited me to join her to sit in on the Danziger Bridge trial that started Monday at the federal court building downtown on Poydras. I don’t know if you are following this trial against police officers charged with shooting and killing two people, injuring four more, and executing the most brazen cover up since the Henry Glover case, but if you’re not, I advise you read up. It is such an important case, about the extent of the police state, its limits or lack thereof during disaster (and if you haven’t had a disaster in your community yet, just wait–we do things by “disaster” now), and what justice will look like in a city that is, as J. often says, at war with its people. I had the day off, so I decided to hop on the bike and ride down to check out today’s witness. Yep, our trials take place in open court. I locked up on a street sign and headed in for two chilling hours of slow, tedious testimony about a seven page report, a seventeen page report, a thirty four page report, a forty six page report, and a fifty four page report (though the defense says that wasn’t a thirty four page report–those were notes) that taken together, painted a picture of a most elaborate conspiracy to obstruct justice. Michael Lohman, the NOPD lieutenant testifying today, when asked why he did it, said he didn’t want to get in trouble, or get his friends in trouble. His biggest regret is for the people who were killed, injured, and whose lives are forever scarred by these murders. They didn’t deserve it, he said. It is deep, this part where staying out of trouble was worth so much more than the lives and blood of others, a stark example of what happens when deep down, we don’t recognize that other people are real, and lead full, complicated, messy lives, just like we do . People are complicated. I stayed for part of the cross examination–Lohman acted alone, those were pages, not a report, and preparing a report means you wrote it all alone–before calling it a day and heading out for a bike ride. I snapped this picture out on Tulane Avenue. Relocation assistance is available for those affected by the new hospital project. Not hiring, though. This city, man, this flippin’ city.
After I finished my writing for the day I hopped on the Surly, still shiny and new from the shoppe, and headed out to do a final ride of the route for this Saturday’s Bicycle Second Line with the Metro Bicycle Coalition. Streets change fast around here, so I wanted to do a last run, taking note of any road construction or serious potholes. Other than the usual off-roading on Freret and that sinkhole developing at Melpomene and St. Charles, the streets are decent and the parade is ready to roll. Continue reading
The air is filling with carnival, people. And so are the streets. The signs are everywhere, as I noticed when riding home from a great talk at Tulane. The mansions above Napoleon are dripping in decorations. The intersection at Napoleon and St. Charles is stacked with metal barriers. Fat Harry’s is draped in parade schedule. The synagogue is surrounded by a fence that’s keeping its viewing platform private. The “No Parking: Parade Route” signs that are up all year round suddenly make sense Continue reading
This is the best photograph I got tonight. It was so humid here on my ride to pick up some dinner that the flash turned the rest of my pictures in to a fuzzy mess. But I did get this photo of the stained glass window at the NOPD 2nd District headquarters at Magazine and Napoleon. Continue reading
After dinner tonight I hopped on my bike and rode down to the coffee shop to do some reading. It was a lovely, humid night, perfect for a ride. I rode up Annunciation on my way home, but had to go around this police activity. Continue reading