Old Time Dividers in the Political Tool Kit

Are you still feeling a little bit queasy at Cheron Brylski’s agreement memo with the leaders of the venerable, pretentious advocates of repression, VCPORA/FQC? If not, read it again. If that doesn’t do it for you, you may be one of them. Think about signing up for an exorcism.

She outed some of their political operations, which should be off limits for a 501(c)3 tax free organization, and the repellent racism that runs like foul sewage through their City Council games.

I am not suggesting that Ms Brylski of the Brylski Company is a classic white-supremacy George Wallace segregationist, at least in her business life. She works for Black candidates as well as White and at least one Vietnamese, frequently digging up or making up scandals to attack her opponents with, whatever tonality they are. What she and her co-conspirators are up to is more insidious.

They intend to exploit or exacerbate racial division for political advantage, as if racial tension was just another bit of fair game for political hustle. Brylski and her colleagues speak frankly about playing race politics in Council, just as a couple of undertakers might discuss embalming over lunch.

That doesn’t make it better. Americans’ refusal or inability to get toxic racism drained out of this society may be responsible for more death and mayhem than any other cause or war. We see evidence of it every day, in the sad machinery of our criminal “justice” system. From street cop to judge and prison guard, the gears grind along, ending up with millions of African Americans in private for-profit prisons, branded felons for life, sometimes on plea bargains for simple drug stuff, forever on the wrong side of the job market, cornered by the system itself into crime as the only way to make a living.

From say 1850 to now: how many times more deaths can be entirely or partially put down to racism than terrorism, starting with the current best estimate of about 750,000 in the Civil War? Terrorism is now our official obsession (as well as an official distraction) but race-linked crime and death had been muffled in official silence until Mike Brown and Black Lives Matter.

New Orleans’ popular current answer to street crime is: more cops. Are a few hundred more cops really the answer to reducing street crime in a society of two alien populations, some members of whom on each side don’t consider each other fully human? So far, traditional policing has made it worse, if anything, but we maintain hope that it will be different this time.

Poking that kind of open infected wound to score points in a local political contest is cynical beyond the acceptable. It smells bad. But if VCPORA, such honorable citizens, are okay with it, I guess we have to finesse the moral niceties.

There is a Council meeting Thursday. What are the odds the FQ scolds are down there as usual, pushing their agendas, trying to play through it like a piano mistake? It should be interesting.

Maybe Council will be able to say: No, we are not ignoring it. Sit down. Get your house in order before you come preaching here.


Now the fun part, starring Jackie Clarkson, with Mitch Landrieu as frustrated ringmaster and Brylski as a minor player doing her usual job, sprinkling BS on the crowd like the priestess of an old cave religion dispensing grace.

Jon Stewart and John Oliver show us that political satire can be hilarious, but Jackie spoils the fun. Her performances are so stupefyingly ridiculous that mockery is superfluous.

But come back for a little discussion anyway, and maybe I’ll bore you to sleep with a Highly Edifying Sermon.

The link below takes you to a Times-Picayune/nola.com article published in March 2014, in the late stages of the election campaign which finally unseated Jackie Clarkson from Council and District C. Click the “article” link. It will take you to an earlier Lens piece with a priceless embedded video featuring a masterful performance by Ms Clarkson herself.



Chain of custody: Cheron Brylski was spokesperson for Jackie Clarkson’s last, losing campaign against Nadine Ramsey. Clarkson was a superannuated old-time politician in a version of the comic-opera mode: “You people don’t appreciate all I’ve done for you.” Repeatedly elected despite – or because of – being a pretty dim bulb, Clarkson was a long-term embarrassment to New Orleans and Louisiana.

The Mayor called her up, probably with some trepidation, to say a few encouraging words. In a fit of Clarksonian craziness, she managed to piss off more than half the audience, calling the 1940s and 50s a Golden Age. After a moment of shock, Black audience members reminded her about having to ride in the back of the bus back in the Golden Age. Couldn’t eat at Woolworth’s crummy lunch counter or try on clothes in stores. It was more like White Time than Golden.

She could have got out of it with a quick, clean apology, but was too stupid and stubborn to understand what was happening. Instead of some judicious groveling, she doubles down, saying she was talking about her totally irrelevant childhood.

Brylski called this semi-conscious dope “inclusive.”

Landrieu was visibly agitated, trying to stave off disaster as objections mounted and people started to walk out. Later, veteran pol Clarkson asks for the mike to put it right. Landrieu sees the risk but hands it to her, saying “30 seconds.” Her job was to apologize. Just put it right. Of course, intelligent behavior would be too much to expect. She digs herself deeper into the hole with a story that her father had a good friend who was Black when she was a little girl, so that’s okay then. Of course, that patronizing rubbish just increased the anger in the room, as Mayor Mitch looked for ways to get the microphone away from her. When he retrieved it, he said, “Jackie apologized . . . ” Her last sparkling words as the video cuts off were, “I did not apologize!”

That is a snapshot of the President of the Council whose combination of subservience, arrogance and doziness the riverside neighborhood residentialists want to resurrect.

When I got a copy of Brylski’s meeting memo early Friday, I spoke to a few people, in the vein of, “Can you believe how these people lay out their political game board?

Older-timers said, “What did you expect? We could have told you that.” Have I been naive and too kind to the White residents’ clubs? I have called them exclusionary and elitist, but I had naively not been thinking of racial discrimination. I was thinking of the economics of exclusionary Euclidean zoning and malicious suing visitor-orientated entertainment and retail business in ways that would cost jobs if successful.

Among other special interests, Clarkson played water-boy for Stuart Smith and the two clubs he used as front line platoons in his obsessive vendettas against public music and city street life. Brylski worked for him, too. I wonder if she still does.

In her letter to members, tuned to sound sincere, hurt and innocent president Pat Meadowcroft of VCPORA wrote that they do not pay or employ Brylski. But you won’t find a person in City Hall or in local media that believes she works for free. Somebody does, say those who know her.

I don’t think we can shame them with exploiting racism, contributing to the perpetuation division and its deadly fallout. They may even be quietly proud of it. They express regret for getting caught. They may apologize to public figures they hope to work with for their embarrassing slip-up, and try to explain away the remarks. But recognize what they and their clubs really are and commit to fixing it? Don’t hold your breath.



Bob Freilich 28 September 2015

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Token Contest


Following a self-inflicted pratfall, VCPORA/FQC are on their bums but trying to smile through it.

In view of their ethical lapses – well, really one ethical lapse lasting years – kicking them while they are down is acceptable. Commendable, in fact.

But we have to have a little bit of sympathy. They have had difficulty finding the right Token Black Person who would appear at Council to agree with them on at least one thing, join their Council speaking parade, and agree to a few photo ops.

So let’s give them a neighborly hand. We are going to sponsor a contest, to find the right Token Black Spokesperson for VCPORA/FQC.

• What are the prizes?
First prize has not been decided, but it will be something cheap. Second prize will be two of them.

• How do we enter?
Excellent question! Simply email your choice to tokencontest@nolascape.org. Explain your choice in 25 words or less, or more. You may enter as many times as you like, but it is best to enter just one name per email.

• Are there any other rules?
Not yet.

• Will you publish our names?
Not if you do not want to.

• Who will be the final judge?
We will ask Nadine Ramsey to be our final judge, but if she declines for reasons of political survival, we will select somebody else. We may have to run another contest for that. In addition, if Ms Ramsey is one of the final candidates, she may be disqualified from being the judge. Maybe not.

• Does the suggested candidate have to be Black?
No. This is an equal opportunity contest. Token candidates do not have to be ethnically Black, but should be willing to be politically Black for as long as it takes VCPORA/FQC and consultant Brylski to confirm that they now have enough pictures to confirm their diversity. That will probably take until about 4.00 PM. Candidates should be prepared for one exciting day. It is unlikely that VCPORA/FQC will require your services after that.

This is an important effort. We need your participation to help VCPORA get up, dust itself off and find a new banana peel.

Some of New Orleans’ most civic citizens, suffering from several centuries of White exclusivity, now need your help so their ethnic awareness can start to inch forward from 1954 to 1965.

Since I know you are going to ask, yes, Jackie Clarkson is eligible to be VCPORA’s Token Black Person of 2015. That would give her a chance to explain why frequent charges of racial insensitivity showed that we do not appreciate how much she has done for us, and that people must not be rude when she speaks.

We look forward to lots and lots of entries.

Bob Freilich September 22 2015

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Twisting slowly in the wind

One of the fun things in local news today is watching the VCPORAns wriggle and twist to get themselves out of the mess their flack, Cheron Brylski, dumped them into Friday.

Here’s one attempt. Poor President Pat, having to come up with this stuff to cover Brylski’s cockup, and then pass it off to the rank-and-file, who normally just pay their annual sub and stand on the sidelines. Do you think they believe it? I think a lot of them probably do. There are people who swallow the VCPORA mythology. If you know any VCPORA members, why not give them a call and see if you can help them over any delusions that may damage their power of reasoning this week.

Read it first; we reconvene below.

Dear VCPORA members,

You may hear about a memo regarding an internal meeting which was mistakenly circulated.

Here is some context: it is important to understand that in our efforts to be effective advocates for the French Quarter, VCPORA solicits advice and ideas from a wide variety of experts, most of whom are unpaid. Cheron Brylski is among those volunteers who offer information and suggestions on public relations matters. As with all such advice, we carefully evaluate all suggestions on a case-by-case basis. We appreciate Ms. Brylski’s donation of her professional observations, but her ideas, opinions and interpretations contained in this memo are her own.

Our goal, since our founding in 1938, has been to protect and preserve the Vieux Carré as a living neighborhood, and to fight for what is right and good in our community.

We continue to stay true to our mission statement: to preserve the Vieux Carré as a national treasure, to maintain its quaint and distinctive character and to achieve in that historic, living neighborhood a quality of life which can be enjoyed by residents, fellow citizens, businesses and visitors.

Pat Meadowcroft

President, VCPORA

Note “hear about.” President Pat is not about to show them the shameful thing, is she?

Meadowcroft says Cheron Brylski is a volunteer offering suggestions. I say a few things to that.

  • Read the memo. That is not what it says.
  • If you know any of the reporters on city stuff, ask them.
  • If you know anyone who has escaped the clutches of the VCPORA cult and is now a normal person again, ask them.
  • Think about it. Even try hard to believe what she says. See if you can make it credible in your imagination.
  • “I do apologize to my clients and to the council,” Cheron Brylskii said today (Nola.com). A fair response to Meadowcroft trying to hang the whole thing around Brylski’s neck.
  • NOLAscape toots its horn: we predicted VCPORA/FQC would try to dump it all on poor innocent Cheron Brylski. Hard to say if she has been fired without more info, but it’s clear that at least for public consumption, she has shouldered out into the cold.

Then I suggest you read this statement by Ms Meadowcroft out loud. If you can get to the end without gagging, you are either already a member or a candidate prepared to share in the warm camaraderie of VCPORA’s morality-free zone.

  • “We appreciate Ms. Brylski’s donation of her professional observations, but her ideas, opinions and interpretations contained in this memo are her own,” says Pat.
  • “This is what I think we decided,” says Cheron.

Who to believe? Hint: Brylski was writing a summary memo; she was not engaged in damage limitation.

Brief digression: The French Quarter has a distinctive character, but quaint it ain’t. “Quaint ” was put into a law about the FQ by some gaga legislator in the 1930s. The French Quarter has Franco-Spanish Caribbean houses, including quite a few big ones with courtyards. They are set up for our climate. You can see comparable designs set up for Northern weather in France, including Paris, and and for various climate belts in Spain and Italy. “Quaint” belittles it, as if non-Anglo-German architecture was a childish idea, when everybody knows that real houses are pitched roof designs developed from Northern European traditions. French Quarter houses are no more quaint than 18th century houses in Boston or Philadelphia. Is there such a thing as architectural racism?

In 1938, VCPORA did some good work. Founder and first president was a strong, talented woman named Elizebeth Werlein. Her first entry into New Orleans politics was to write speeches and tracts agains interracial sex in Storyville. When renovation projects had started in the French Quarter, she came down on prostitution. When the current incarnation of VCPORA keeps on campaigning against music, alcoholic beverages and adult entertainment against a discriminatory backgound, they are carrying on the founder’s work.

The Advocate revised the puffball article they published yesterday. If you looked from mid-morning today, you didn’t see the embarrassingly supine piece they put up first. The new one offers a bit more detail, but still hands Brylski a bucket of whitewash and a fat brush.

As she tries to spin and whitewash her way out of it, the disabled morality of Ms B and her supposed non-clients (gimme a break) still shines bleakly through.

“The memo recommends the Quarter groups continue to look for a black spokesperson. Brylski said that suggestion is aimed at combating the perception that the groups are “whites-only groups,” something she said might be hampering their effectiveness. . . . .

Really, that’s just not true, but if that is the barrier, let’s get across it.”

So their way to deal with being “whites-only” is not to stop being whites-only, recruit Black members and directors, and make them welcome, but to beat the bushes for a prominent token Black guy who will side with them on at least one issue. Still, Ms Brylski’s spin wasn’t a bad segue, maybe the best available. Bogus, but skillful.

There could be an alternative. A thought experiment:

“We apologize. Meg, Carol, Pat, Susan and I, looking at these ideas through the eyes of others who have seen it, realize that we have behaved badly. We apologize to all the people we have damaged by advocating privilege over humanity and using dishonest means to promote our agendas. We are now going to withdraw from public advocacy for a while to reconsider our positions. We hope to re-emerge as valuable citizens of New Orleans.”

Not going to happen, is it?

We’d all be better off – well, maybe not the five people representing the two associations whose collective views are noted in Brylski’s memo, but the rest of us – if a lot of Black women would join VCPORA, elect themselves to the Board and the offices, and bring this unappealing old club back to real life, as Nadine Ramsey has breathed some spirit back into District C, which was gasping for light and air when Clarkson could muster a majority in Council.

Then they wouldn’t need a token Black face. They would have real ones.

Bob Freilich, 21 September 2015

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The Advocate almost meets real reporting

Have you seen what The Advocate “reported” about Brylski, VCPORA/FQC and her fragrant little memo?


If I had a subscription to that comic, I would cancel it.

Whoever wrote that thing (no byline) it tries to look like “journalism” but it is just an integral part of VCPORA/Brylski’s damage control effort. Does somebody on the Advocate owe Brylski or the VCPORA establishment money, or do they have the pictures of what some editor did last summer?

Do you ever wonder if local papers have a new policy – send your press release with a couple of unmarked hundred dollar bills, and we are with you?

Come on, Advocate: pull your £%*@ing socks up! Or stop calling yourself a newspaper and change to something like a New Orleans version of Auto Trader for boring people. “One used city for sale  . . .”

How could a real newspaper’s response to the ugly gunk in Cheron Brylski’s memo be to ask her – a pro PR – for a one line excuse, swallow it with a glass of warm milk, and wobble off back to sleep? That’s the news we get – reporting by Xanax.

Brylski says VCPORA/FQC do not pay her. Didn’t The Advocate’s speed of thought run to asking her: Who did? Or is that a hard one?

Let’s think of some possible reasons why VCPORA might not pay her. Think about the rules of 501(c)3 tax exemption. Maybe there is a leaflet published by John Oliver’s Church of Perpetual Exemption.

501(c)3 companies get their funding form donors. Donors to these organizations can deduct the amount of their gift from taxable income. If the organization loses that status, donors can’t get the tax benefit and the money dries up.

On the other hand, if somebody, say a law firm, pays the supplier and tucks the cost into say their investigations budget, it comes off taxable anyway. Or if the cost is covered by a retainer agreement?

I am not of course saying that any such thing has ever happened. I would not say such a thing, because I drink my morning Kool Aid and believe that Brutus is an honorable man.

So any reporter who is still awake (are there any in the Advocate? Raise your hands . . . ) try: Ms Brylski, are you paid by anyone to serve VCPORA/FQC? Are you telling us that you are a pro bono mercenary for a downtown snob association and suspected White Space support group? Would you say that in a court of law?

501(c)3 rule of thumb: a qualifying non-profit organization can spend up to about ten percent of its income on advocacy, but NOT on promoting specific candidates. They have to be very careful about favoring specific candidates. Advocacy means issues only, not individuals.

In Brylski’s memo, did they discuss specific candidates? Why yes, I do believe so.

Does it seem to you that VCPORA’s advocacy and politicking are just a bit fatter than might comfortably snuggle under the umbrella of ten percent of their visible income? Well, Advocate: we don’t know – but ask the damn’ question or get off the stage.

Maybe the staff are just jittery after the holocaust at the T-P last week. To save their butts, they have to find a way to turn softballs into nerf balls. Offend no one! And you don’t want to mess with Meg when she is pissed off!

Ask the questions! And hang around for the answer. Or take “newspaper” and “journalism” out of your trade description.

Bob Freilich, September 2015

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Pants Down, Hood On

“White Space” was about crypto-racism. This morning something popped into my inbox that doesn’t even bother with the racial codes.

It’s just out there. It shows us a part of White Space that we might call Bottom Feeder Space, occupied by the French Quarter residentialists with their drawers down, trying on a pointy hat.

Most of us are aware of neighborhood associations that have gone off the rails. They are not really neighborhood associations, because they do not represent the diversity of the area, just groups of broadly similar people bent on several kinds of control. The most conspicuous of the genre that I know are Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, French Quarter Citizens, and the leader, VCPORA or Vieux Carré Property Owners and Residents.

The last two have been busted by the document a few of us received. One of their weapons is a veil of respectability. They pretend to be devoted to the well-being of their neighborhoods and historical preservation. NOLAscape has been saying for a while that what they most avidly preserve is their own petty power, that their ideas of history do not resemble the real process but a snapshot Photoshopped to justify whatever their current mission of mischief is.

This document confirms the utter moral bankruptcy behind the facade of respectability they use to justify their positions. It shows that their focus is on extending their political influence throughout the city, from the French Quarter to the riverfront neighborhoods including the West bank and into the departments of municipal government. They are actively trying to unseat at least one member of City Council. Their objective, this document indicates, is not to win power for Republicans or Democrats, but for White candidates at the expense of Black.

Let’s walk through it. .

The email is an informal report from lobbyist and political hustler Cheron Brylski to the panjandrums of VCPORA and French Quarter Citizens. It is reproduced in full below for reference.

Remember a few weeks ago Carol Gniady of French Quarter Citizens strongly objected to council having any truck with Chris Young, because he was a lobbyist? Carol is one of the addressees of Brylski’s stuff, so as well as being a kind of small-bore lobbyist herself, her organization is also a client of a lobbyist and political fixer. The old pot and kettle story. So if their attempt to gain some moral high ground that day got any traction with you, you want to walk it back.

When Chris Young speaks at Council, he states clearly the name of the organization he represents. There is directness and transparency. He is a lawyer, but for legislation, not litigation.

Cheron Brylski, however, acting for VCPORA/FQC, stays in the shadows. Chief spokesmen and leader of the clubs, effective leader of all the coalitions, is Meg Lousteau, Executive Director of VCPORA. The clubs are secretive, but as far as we can make out, Meg leads on goal-setting, strategy, clarifying the talking points, assigning the speaking roles. Brylski is an adviser, a shadow consigliere..

In the memo, Brylski refers to Ms Gniady as Carol G., almost certainly to distinguish her from Carol Allen, ex-President of VCPORA, now implanted in the Preservation Resource Centre, dragging this respectable organization into the political muck-bucket of her former colleagues, sadly staining the legacy of Patty Gay and the real preservationist organization she has led for 40 years. When the PRC wakes up to what is being done to it by the bottom feeders of White Space, it may take them years to get their reputation cleaned up.

Brylski opens: “sorry this took me so long. . . . . This is what I think we decided:”

Her statements, conclusion and opinions are not unsolicited input. The email is a report and summary of conclusions the addressees have worked on together. I want to emphasize that, because VCPORA may try to save themselves by throwing Brylski under the bus, claiming the memo was unsolicited and they have no responsibility. Don’t let them get away with it.

From the memo:

“There are no plans to try to influence the westbank races where Troy Carter and Gary Carter could potentially win seats. However, residents may be donating services to Skip Gallagher to help his effort even though it appears the vote counts are not favorable for a white candidate in that district.” [Emphasis mine.]

So a group pretending to devotion to preservation of the “fragile” French Quarter is interested in deepening white power across the river.

The IRS may be interested in how an organization claiming exempt status for its devotion to historical preservation in the French Quarter is involved in power-brokering over the bridge. They have outed themselves as political hustlers. The preservationist pretensions are holed at the waterline. Their only reason for staying out of Westbank politics this election season is clear: they want to back a White candidate, but political savvy tells them their man won’t win.

How are you feeling at this point? A bit queasy? Don’t blame you.

Don’t whitewash it. Don’t make excuses. Cheron Brylski is showing us exactly what these people are. Some of you will think, Well, that’s okay, and join them in the moral dead zone. For you others, I hope the vast majority – think what it must look like, smell like, down in the pit of decomposition of indecency these nice folks inhabit.

I am waiting for more information to understand the issue, but in view of this note, Council President Jason Williams may need to cancel some meetings and give some thought to the company he keeps.

This section is the treasure trove. CM Ramsey is driving the French Quarter trolls nuts. They so much miss their long time mole in government, self-centered, addled old Jackie Clarkson, who would do their bidding with no questions beyond the unspoken, “What’s in it for me?”

“Meg will continue to investigate votes and support for the mayoral substitute amendment to the current NR “barestaurant” proposal. She and Carol G. will continue to feel out LaToya, who is increasingly concerned about voting with the “whites” on the Council.”

I wonder how CM LaToya Cantrell feels about being felt out, especially about the “whites.” Sounds pretty creepy to me. I was hoping to get a reaction from Ms Cantrell before this went up. Maybe next time. This isn’t over.

What’s going on with the Mayor’s office? They mention Ryan Berni. Are they working him to get the Mayor to send in an admin bill to replace CM Ramsey’s restaurant amendments? Hope not. They are sound technical bills. They just need passing. Any fine tuning can be done in Ramsey’s shop. The Harpy clubs are trying to turn them into a City Hall Benghazi – a non-issue to attack Ramsey with. The White Residentialist Party is not attacking Ramsey because of the amendments; they are blowing them out of proportion as a weapon to undermine her.

The “whites” on the Council are Stacy Head and Susan Guidry. They tend to support every sort of restrictive rubbish that the über-controlling residentialists try to inflict on the city to inhibit alcohol sales, music and new buildings. They especially hate music. When you drill down, music and alcohol usually turn out to be a crypto-racial issues as well. Three years of fuss about Habana Café at Esplanade and North Rampart were essentially about White Space, in code.

This week, Guidry finally gave up on a proposal backed by Keith Hardie, a VCPORA ally, the leading anti-alcohol, anti-music would-be Cromwellian regulator of Uptown, for Maple Street to secede from the CZO and have restaurant and bar businesses bend the knee to the rule of the local residents’ club.

If Ryan Berni really is supporting the FQ Harpy covens, this leak may be enough to get him to cut them off. Landrieu is probably canny enough to instruct him to close that door and leave management of the amendments in Ramsey’s office, where it belongs.

The other five Council Members tend to support greater clarity, simplicity, objectivity and freedom, with more regard for people and their needs over strict application and interpretation of ordinance. “We are a nation of laws,” says Stacy Head in Council, not infrequently. But New Orleans City Council is not the nation. It is a small legislative body dealing with laws sponsored by the likes of VCPORA/FQC and the unspeakable Clarkson, as well as a few predecessors who did jail time for their political programs.

In his finer moments, Council President Jason Williams directs our attention back toward the primary purpose of laws: the well-being of people.

VCPORA doesn’t like that. They liked the Clarkson era – whiter, more corrupt, prioritizing property over people, crazy and embarrassing.

It is not clear whether they are saying that CM Cantrell considers Head and Guidry the “whites” or that is just Brylsk/VCPORA/FQC’s way of sorting things. My limited experience of Ms Cantrell is, Meg and Carol may be in for a long lot of feeling out, and still won’t know how she will vote until she pushes the button. But look – they gotta try, right? I mean, White is White. Right?

Although I would suspect – hope – that their relationship with LaToya Cantrell is now in the gutter and will stay there forever after this. Ms Cantrell is very politically savvy in the ways of New Orleans. The smart play would be to cut all ties with these people.

“we have until October 1 to get the media strategy with Chief Woodfork going. He has had a favorable read from Fraternal Order of Police but is still awaiting a board endorsement. He knows this needs to come asap and he is trying to get them to act sooner rather than later (they normally do endorsements at their board meeting which is end of the month). He does not want me to engage Dr. Denise Shervington or other social workers in the testimony. He says he doesn’t buy into those philosophies. I feel it would be helpful if Meg or Carol G called him and updated him as to the legislative timetable, to support what I have told him and try to encourage him to move faster on the FOP endorsement. Without that endorsement, we can’t move on the radio campaign.” [Emphasis mine.]

Chief Woodfork must be former Police Chief Warren Woodfork, and Denise Shervington may be Dr. Denese Shervington, a prominent doctor and professor of public mental health at Tulane. Hard to say just what is going on here. Shall we guess? VCPORA/FQC want some prominent people of color to endorse their latest anti-alcohol/anti-music/anti-Ramsey campaign. If it is just the FQ clubs, Head and Guidry against the rest of Council, it might look like a Black v. White issue. That does not fit the New Codes. Get the Black head of the Fraternal Order of Police on board, and maybe a prominent doctor, and Alley-Oop: we are democratic and representative.

So Brylski, the aspiring Karl Rove of the White Ladies of the French Quarter, wants to run a radio campaign to gather support for this month’s anti-Ramsey drive, but the Black v. White divide in Council is becoming too noticeable. They need a respected Black face to shill for them.
The fallout from this memo should be enough to convince both of them to stay clear of VCPORA and its followers.


“The hotel issue was also postponed but we are unclear as to Nadine’s mindset. It does appear we have more hope to get favorable support in court than before the Council as our votes continue to dwindle and the Ramsey coalition gains strength.”

Could this be the height variance for the proposed resurrection of the Astor Hotel at 100 Royal Street? Maybe; they usually have a hotel to object to.

Of interest here is what Brylski highlights: they use the civil court as a political tool. When they fail politically, they try to get a civil court judge to override the democratic process.

“Unclear as to Nadine’s mindset.” That is exactly what we, the real people of New Orleans, want to see. They must be bugging Nadine’s office for a commitment, and she ain’t saying. Some days you just want to give Nadine Ramsey a big hug. Quite unsuitable for a judge and council member, but still . . . .

“In the meantime, we all believe the grassroots campaign about Nadine will resume soon.”

So our little clutch of confessed snobs, with their now exposed White agenda, want to bring an Algiers’ women’s movement into alignment with their own? I hope the women of Algiers know better. Even the enemy of my enemy can be a step too far.

“This is in the courts and probably will continue to be in the courts rather than in press. We are seeking information from Assessor about who owns all riverfront property on east and westbank re the proposed sites.”

Another confirmation, if we needed one, that VCPORA/FQC consider abuse of civil court a weapon to try to counteract political failure. For them, the judicial process, supposedly intended for redress of injustice, is just another tool of municipal leverage.

FMIA and Lisa Suarez have a pending case for a restraining order against the Riverfront Overlay. Phase one, requesting a Temporary Restraining Order against the Riverside Overlay, has already been kicked. The case was ill-conceived and ill-prepared. The City Attorneys and Bob Rivers, Executive Director of the City Planning Council, shredded it in an entertaining few hours. The next case for a permanent restraining order is likely to go down even quicker. Unless VCPORA has another case working, they should start looking for a stronger ally than Lisa Suarez and FMIA.

“We still lack one and none identified. Eric Anthony Johnson still interested but no one has reached out to him to interview him. No others id’d at this moment.”

I love this one. I LOVE it. Cheron Brylski, our aspiring local Karl Rove, tells us right straight up front splat in your face that her little clutch of cheap-jack clients are looking for a token Black face, and so far nobody wants to play. A Black Cinderella to smooth the way for the Ugly Sisters. Cheron is telling you what others have been saying: We are an unrepresentative little parade of white snobs, articulate but of narrow, limited intelligence, drumming the same boring martial beat at Council week after week, month after month, year after year.

And they are working up a hope that a token African American face will spread their appeal.

I wonder what the pay scale is. What’s the going rate for am African American of repute to shill for these delightful folks? If they find one, they will probably have to be more careful with their code language when he or she is around the clubhouse.

The French Quarter Harpy clubs perform regularly at City Council. The two minute presntations of their leaders and sometimes guests or members are scripted to make us think there is a public interest, that they care about something beyond their own window boxes. Lousteau reasonable, Meadowcroft congenial, Susan Guillot irascible, Albin Guillot histrionic and Carol Gniady – variable. Some seem to believe the script and the cause; some are just mercenaries.

Brylski’s memo shows how they cook the little plots and stir the cauldrons and write the scripts. If you listen to them in Council or interviews and refer back to this glimpse behind the curtain, you can see that where you might expect a little wizard, the center of the performance is really a warm bucket of BS.

They remind me of the Republican psychopathy, as recently seen on CNN and Fox: lack of interest in reality, disregard for facts, lust for power, disinterest in honor or truth, appearance and appeal to the base over substance. But what would the RNC do to the real Rove if he let a memo like this leak?

Okay, that’s my first attempt attempt to shine some bright light on Brylski’s obscene little exposure of some of the tricks her clients, the Respectable Temperance Anti-Music Establishment of the French Quarter, get up to. Below is the whole original text. Have a read, Make up your own mind. And stay tuned. We will be looking at this subject again.

Here is the whole text of the email from Cheron Brylski to the Presidents and Execs of the French Quarter group, Vieux Carré Property Owners and Residents Association and French Quarter Citizens. Enjoy.



From: Louisiana <louisiana-bounces@five.pairlist.net> on behalf of cheron brylski via Louisiana <louisiana@five.pairlist.net>
Reply-To: “louisiana-owner@five.pairlist.net” <louisiana-owner@five.pairlist.net>
Date: Friday, September 18, 2015 at 9:44 AM
To: Meg Lousteau <meglousteau@gmail.com>, “carolgniady@icloud.com” <carolgniady@icloud.com>, “patmeadowcroft@aol.com” <patmeadowcroft@aol.com>, “susan@frenchquartercitizens.org” <susan@frenchquartercitizens.org>, “louisiana@five.pairlist.net” <louisiana@five.pairlist.net>
Cc: Cheron Brylski <cbrylski@aol.com>
Subject: [News] summary of meeting

sorry this took me so long. I’ve been in chicago and still am, but finally get to breathe.
This is what I think we decided:

FQC and VCPORA will do interviews with the Senate Race to replace Ed Murray. There are however no plans for residents to INVEST in any one candidate re a fundraiser. Once the interviews are conducted, it is possible Tony Marino will organize a Meet and Greet for all residents.

There are no plans to try to influence the westbank races where Troy Carter and Gary Carter could potentially win seats. However, residents may be donating services to Skip Gallagher to help his effort even though it appears the vote counts are not favorable for a white candidate in that district. Llourdes Moran has hired Yvonne Mitchell Grubb to be her campaign manager.

Residents will continue to remind Ryan Berni that a public hearing is supposed to be had on the issue and not act on any resident information campaign until it is clear the other groups (FQBA, BBA, Hotel Motel, etc.) have endorsed the measure.

Meg/Carol are approaching Jason Williams about convening a meeting of impacted neighborhoods.

Meg will continue to investigate votes and support for the mayoral substitute amendment to the current NR “barestaurant” proposal. She and Carol G. will continue to feel out LaToya, who is increasingly concerned about voting with the “whites” on the Council. Regardless of where the actual amendment stands, we have until October 1 to get the media strategy with Chief Woodfork going. He has had a favorable read from Fraternal Order of Police but is still awaiting a board endorsement. He knows this needs to come asap and he is trying to get them to act sooner rather than later (they normally do endorsements at their board meeting which is end of the month). He does not want me to engage Dr. Denise Shervington or other social workers in the testimony. He says he doesn’t buy into those philosophies. I feel it would be helpful if Meg or Carol G called him and updated him as to the legislative timetable, to support what I have told him and try to encourage him to move faster on the FOP endorsement. Without that endorsement, we can’t move on the radio campaign.

The hotel issue was also postponed but we are unclear as to Nadine’s mindset. It does appear we have more hope to get favorable support in court than before the Council as our votes continue to dwindle and the Ramsey coalition gains strength.

In the meantime, we all believe the grassroots campaign about Nadine will resume soon. The Legislative races and increasing westbank crime give us opportunities. Additionally, we are trying to identify the women who have persistently opposed Nadine on the gas station issue.

The Keith Hardie issue re Maple Street is dead for time being because Susan doesn’t see a favorable vote anytime soon. Guidry feels her and Head are increasingly isolated as the “whites” who are against development.

This is in the courts and probably will continue to be in the courts rather than in press. We are seeking information from Assessor about who owns all riverfront property on east and westbank re the proposed sites.

We still lack one and none identified. Eric Anthony Johnson still interested but no one has reached out to him to interview him. No others id’d at this moment.

1. Followup on town meeting by Ryan Berni re tax issue
2.Interview Senate candidates and hold meet and greet
3.Discuss viability of Mayor’s amendment v. Nadine’s in Oct. 1 vote
4.Encourage Chief Woodfork to move faster or develop alternative to radio plan
5.Encourage focus on Nadine’s actions re westbank, crime and development; keep her on defensive
6. Work to defeat hotel proposal by Nadine planned for Oct. 1

Cheron Brylski
The Brylski Company
3418 Coliseum Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115
(504) 897-6110
FX (504) 897-0778
Cell (504) 460-1468
Louisiana mailing list
To unsubscribe, visit http://five.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/louisiana or send a message to louisiana-owner@five.pairlist.net titled “unsubscribe”

Bob Freilich, 9/18/2015

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White Space

In the comments to “Café Istanbul at Risk,” I got a chiding from one reader for NOLAscape’s not fitting his expectation of “journalism.” Something to do with the separation of reporting and editorial. That is a newspaper tradition, not a rule for all writing.

Tell you what, though: if the NYT or even the Times-Pic want to pay me some money to try to follow the print news style guide, I could have a go. But I think I might fail at another current MSM rule: don’t offend anyone. Reporters’ drafts are combed for anything that might rub anyone the wrong way. Politically correct, they still call it, but it is much worse than that. The text has to sit on top of a foam of bubbles without making a dent. Who knows whose uncle might be an advertiser?

If nobody is offended by this article, I didn’t do it right. If nobody sees themselves in the cracked mirror, has anything happened?

Read this first: http://gu.com/p/4ca48?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other.

A social group of ten middle-aged Black ladies, prosperous enough to buy a $124.00 ticket each for a day trip wine tasting tour, are enjoying themselves, laughing loudly enough to discomfit other passengers and to worry the train company’s employees. The white passengers and train staff feel justified, they actually think it is okay, to ask the ladies to leave the train. Not in Alabama or Mississippi; in California.

“White space.”

The quotation marks are just there to get you to look at the words in a receptive frame of mind.

White Space.

MaCCNO linked “Café Istanbul at Risk” to their Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/113893188774696/permalink/501290833368261/ It stimulated some comments which you can read there, starting with angry outbursts by a fellow called David Lord.

We know that Lisa Suarez, President of FMIA, and some of its directors, principal instigators of the attack on Café Istanbul, are comfortable with the racial codes. I’m not sure if they would be at ease with George Wallace, but Paula Deen would be okay.

This is Suarez commenting on the Nextdoor web site about an elevator temporarily out of order, though you might not spot that from the text:

Gi Neworleans from Marigny

Hahahahahaha. Of course they are. And there won’t be money to fix them until evil-doer Sean Cummings has his high-rises on the River where only rich people can live (except for the 10 % of his staff at “affordable rents.”) Wonder when he will be called “Massa,” like they do his Plantation- owning Dad

De-code: Gi Neworleans is a user name for Lisa Suarez, President of FMIA, probably the only alias on the neighborhood site. “Fix them” refers to the elevator. She seems to be saying that Sean Cummings is holding the city hostage by causing delay in elevator maintenance at the Crescent Park Mandeville entrance until some buildings are built. “Plantation-owning.” John Cummings restored the Whitney Plantation. He made it into a museum of the history of slavery and the tragedy of the ante-bellum plantations. Is Suarez crazy or just can’t understand? Not for me to say – maybe we’ll come back to it. Oh yes – the elevator was fixed in a few hours, and this comment was deleted the next day.

I’m not seeing much difference between FMIA’s Café Istanbul campaign, with its pictures and videos, and David Lord and Lisa Suarez, and the train passengers and staff in Napa Valley. The same unspoken, possibly unaware, unconscious declaration: this is White Space. Keep quiet. Don’t laugh. Don’t scare us. Go away.

People that know him tell me David Lord is not racist, not at all, not possible. Suarez and Del Vecchio, maybe, they say, but not David Lord.

Me, I can’t read minds. I don’t know what people think or intend. I know these people only by what they do and say in public. Or sometimes what they omit, like what Del Vecchio edited out of his videos, what David Lord does not want to say about the words and actions that came before his “death threat.” (In case you are concerned: he is still alive.) I don’t know what the ABO board and prosecutor/staff intend to accomplish.

I just listen to the words and look at the pictures and call what I see. (Unlike a real journalist, who would make sure to say nothing that might offend.)

What I see is all of them silently saying: This is White Space. Especially after 10.00 o’clock. Any Black stuff, we will take notes, we will make videos, we will tell the sheriff. No being Black in Marigny after 10.00 PM, unless you find a very silent way to do it. It’s okay to be Black. We are not racist. Oh no, of course not. But after 10.00 PM, you walk and talk White. Or we will try to shut down that place you just left.

In White Space you don’t have to be racist to defend its rules and customs. At least not openly, and for most people, you don’t even have to see it in your own mirror. It’s just the rule of law. It’s just normal. It’s just . . . us. It’s Quality of Life.

We heard something like it from the blessed Sarah Palin recently, who never remembers to close the curtain right. She said Mexicans should “talk American.” She doesn’t want to hear Spanish in White Space.

Now some interpretation and a 30 second history.

Black people may tell me I have this all wrong. They may say I am intruding, that I don’t know, that it is not in my experience, so I should shut up. They may be right. I hope they will tell me if I screw this up. I’m just a white guy, didn’t even live in America most of my life, trying to figure it out.

The Africans that have now become African Americans were brought here by violence and treated as less or other than properly human for generations. When slavery was the law, they were subject to judgment or abuse at the whim of an “owner.” If there was a rule of law, in most territories they were exempted from its protection.

When slavery was broken, the freed people were not welcomed into White society. White power wanted dominance, not one nation. They built a Trump-wall of laws and sheriffs and violence to isolate the Black population.

A culture grew up inside that wall. It intersects the White culture. Most Black Americans can speak a dialect of English that we understand. The Black culture created musical forms that we all like, sometimes after a bit of whiting up. Now the map is complex. Black culture owns some lucrative territories, like hip hop and some parts of the fashion industry. But White separatists don’t give up. They have voter ID and de facto segregation and the War on Drugs with privatized prisons and prejudice in employment and Donald Trump in their tool kit. It doesn’t work 100% any more, but it’s better than nothing.

Many Black people speak perfect White when they want to. They make us feel good. They confirm that White is the real culture. Bill Cosby, Vernon Jordan, Barrack Obama, Ben Carson.

The patchwork of society is increasingly more complex than the old binary formula. There are Black cultures just as there are various Hispanics and others. The shifting demographics are now scaring the hell out of the people that think White culture is the real one that everybody has to imitate. See Ann Coulter for details.

If they want to even pass as decent, White Americans should live with the Black cultures gracefully. Not spluttering and accusing as David Lord and Del Vecchio and Lisa Suarez are doing; not threatening retribution, as the ABO court does on their behalf. With grace and style and acceptance. White people made the Jim Crow, apartheid, segregation, discriminatory laws and all the little details of our history that prevented forming an inclusive society, and even felt validated as the divergent Black cultures developed. “See,” our White citizen could say to her friends, “they are different.” Black Americans created their culture in an isolated space that White America built for them. Time to be cool with the consequences of that. Political and social discrimination have been an embarrassment and a shame of America for years. When something has been that great a failure, isn’t it time to try something else?

Once a neighbor, a Black guy that I didn’t know, rang my bell at night. He had a problem and was pretty agitated. He was very anxious to show me that he was not armed, not violent, intended no harm. He expected me to be afraid of him. On my porch, he was in White space, out of hours. It had not occurred to me to be afraid or annoyed yet – I guess I have not been here long enough. Later I thought: am I not playing my social role correctly? Should I have shown more anxiety, to validate his experience of cross-cultural communication? Did I embarrass him by not playing to expectation?

White Space is a creepy idea, an infection. Ghettos used to be normal. The Jews in Warsaw and earlier in Venice had to be in the ghetto by a certain time. After dark, the city was Christian Space. Not long ago in the South, you had to be on your side of the tracks after dark. Is that acceptable now? Or just obscene? We have ethnic islands everywhere, from gangs to neighborhoods to schools to TV shows. FMIA, the police, the ABO board seem to be enforcing a new, coded version of the Ghetto.

I think Americans all have to get something, if they don’t want to keep on being as grotesque as some of the behavior I am seeing around me: history is here. It keeps coming home to roost.

Americans don’t like history much. They don’t like the process. They prefer still photos, like “historic districts.” They think New Orleans is historical for some double shotguns and birthday cake mansions uptown. They don’t see history pulling their strings in their local political games.

Will they ever get it?

The middle or professional class American, like the White people on the wine excursion train, or the respectable folk of FMIA calling in the ABO on Istanbul for fear and anger at the sounds of Black people at night, or Del Vecchio shooting videos he believes to be incriminating, with not a White face in the frame – they don’t get it, and they won’t. It amazes me, but they won’t.

White Space allows them to see themselves as good people, standing up for their neighborhood, their Quality of Life – another code phrase. I don’t think they will ever see what I see: respectably dressed rearguard fighters of a hopefully dying tribe, who can call laughter a crime. Who with a straight face can call Black laughter late or in a train a crime. They can look in a mirror or at each other around their club meeting tables and tell themselves they are the good guys, the virtuous, the caretakers. They can see people locked up or businesses shut down by the application of the petty laws of prejudice and social injustice and think, Well, it’s on them. Can’t just go around laughing at midnight, not in this neighborhood.

Our scarred social history will even ensure that a lot of people agree with them, and the “justice” system will support them. See what the ABO board thinks of it. You can get validation. There are lots of Americans ready to agree with any injustice. See how they still come out to defend the murder of Michael Brown or even the brutal treatment of Sandra Bland. They know any cop, especially a Black one, that manhandled a middle class White woman like that in Texas would be out on his ass in a few hours, but they still find a way inside themselves to think it is okay.

We are the victims of Jim Crow too. Even the dominant victim is a victim. It’s just harder not to be too blind to see it.

Look at those videos again. If you felt some resentment or indignation or anxiety the first time, think about why. Think about every person accusing Café Istanbul, from neighbors to the truculent David Lord to FMIA and its directors, right through to the ABO prosecutor himself – being very, very White, while all the people in the videos are Black. And so is one of the owners of Café Istanbul.

Are you comfortable with all this? I’m not.

I am not exempt. Maybe no one over 50 born in the United States is, and if the rise of Nazi and anti-immigration parties in Europe is evidence, maybe just nobody.. Maybe the best you can do is locate that urge in yourself to declare some White Space around you when it is still small, and lock it down.

White Space.

FMIA, with the ABO board – they are charging Café Istanbul with the crime of not stopping some audiences on some infrequent occasions from violating White Space.

The exploitation of law to violate common decency.

Bob Freilich, 16 September 2015

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Café Istanbul at Risk


For all that care.

And you have to care. This is not a situation where good people can agree to disagree with respect. This conflict has one good guy, Café Istanbul, and a small gang of bad guys.

Café Istanbul faces an ABO hearing next Tuesday, 15 September.

Two reasons: a malicious attack by a malevolent residents’ association, Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, and the way the ABO court works, which may be the only context in which the words “Stalinist” and “kangaroo” can be used in the same sentence. We’ll have to come back to the ABO Board system another day.

For now, let’s focus: FMIA v. Café Istanbul.

Café Istanbul is a business, not a public space, but it is a business of great public benefit. It is the most democratic, encouraging performance venue I have ever seen. The owners encourage everything, from small, raw, newcomer acts, still getting over stage fright, to the best. I have seen Nicholas Payton play there. Joan Rivers played Istanbul – I missed it. I have seen great “jazz,” superb chamber music, excellent comedy, political meetings, circus acts – all in a pleasant, welcoming atmosphere, with seating arrangements varied to suit the gig, at fair or modest prices – or as often as not, free. It is largely financed by a very good bar run by friendly staff charging fair prices. The audience and bar customers frequently include council members, senators and representatives, entertainers of international reputation and the odd movie star.

Its attacker, Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, offers no community benefit. It has no redeeming social value. In fact, no moral compass that I can see. It is not law enforcement or a department of municipal government. It is a self-appointed club of questionable character and a terrible record.

The ambience at Istanbul is always congenial and cheerful. There have never been any fights or violence of any kind, never any reason to call the police. NOPD has a few legacy reserved spaces in the parking lot, but nothing in Istanbul ever requires their attention.

Unlike Istanbul, and probably unusual for a residents’ association, the police have had to deal with violence at FMIA: http://www.nolaslate.blogspot.com/2011/04/fmia-strange-days.html tells the story. FMIA was into wholesale harassment back then, wandering around Marigny like they were auditioning for jobs as enforcers in a resurrection of The Sopranos. Since Lisa Suarez somehow became President, they have raised their game. She is suing the city now, and starting to thrash around in increasingly absurd ways, pushing an agenda of general ignorance and crossing neighborhood borders so she can annoy more people. She seems quite proud of her work. Probably fancies herself clever and cute, not what we see: vulgar, rude and boring.

How could Suarez and her little clique persuade Deputy City Attorney McNamara to . . . well, not exactly get in bed with them – let’s say lean back on the same sofa? No matter what kind of cowboy sideshow I think I am seeing when I watch an ABO hearing, McNamara seems a canny character. Maybe he didn’t check FMIA out before he took them under his wing, and is not aware of the club’s history of creepy violence, conflict of interest and alleged corruption or something like the whiff of embezzlement.

When a public business is bordered by residential property, the business sometimes enters into a Community Benefit Agreement, to accept some rules, generally to reassure the residents, who (frequently excited by residents’ associations eager to extend their petty power) feel anxious and possibly threatened. The counter party has to act like a sort of cop. Cafe Istanbul signed a CBA with FMIA – over the objections of some of the FMIA board at the time, who said the club not equipped, qualified or properly empowered for a quasi-police role, and should not take it on.

Café Istanbul was brand new, paint still wet on the woodwork, struggling to open. They signed.

How a deeply questionable outfit like FMIA could persuade the Council that it was fit and responsible to be party to a serious agreement signed under council supervision is one of those mysteries of the Red Queen era, when Jackie Clarkson was At Large and Kristin Palmer had District C. Seems like old history, doesn’t it? It is really just over a year since Nadine Ramsey got Clarkson off the stage. It just faded quick, like a bad dream.

Community Benefit is the key phrase. Café Istanbul has it, in spades. It offers great shows at low prices, and has never been the scene of violence or fights or drugs – never, not once. It is as sound-proofed as a recording studio. It is a completely civil, beneficial business with institutional overtones, like the Saenger or the re-opening Orpheum.

FMIA, though – after Costello flamed out, FMIA was civilized for a time. Still in the reactionary, crotch-clutching stance a lot of residents’ groups are prone to, but less of an epidemic.

Then they elected Lisa Suarez and the old plague started to spread again. Harass, threaten, browbeat, sue. Following their failed “Size Matters” campaign of architectural imbecility, they are suing the city to try to get a civil court judge to block the Riverside Overlay, basically wasting our money. The city has to put on lawyers and the expense of court to defend against a frivolous, poorly reasoned case based on no vision, with weak representation and ineffective witnesses. The case looked so bad that I had to wonder, did it have any other purpose than to give Suarez another little stage for grandstanding.

Like many of these pretentious residents’ clubs, membership is relatively small, drawn mostly from a homogeneous stratum of residents. No group so lacking in diversity can properly be called a neighborhood association. More sophisticated residentialists, however, usually manage better to avoid the complete grotesque.

Formally, the charge against Café Istanbul probably comes from the City Attorney’s office, but the instigation was FMIA in its ugliest pit-bull mode. They took videos showing not anything that the business did, but the sound of people entering and leaving for the rare large special event, usual connected with one of our festivals, like Mardi Gras (an explicit exception under the CBA). They took photos showing the great crime of a Mardi Gras Indian quietly changing into the big feather suit to appear at an event — which turned out to be a fundraiser benefit for Trumpet Black’s repatriation and funeral expenses. Nice people, right – to use that occasion to attack the venue? Confronted with how cheap a shot that was – no apology from a director of FMIA. One of the photos put on line (subsequently taken down, reputedly at suggestion of the ABO prosecutor) by one of their apparently permanently angry directors showed some litter on the comms box beside the parking lot. The date stamp showed it was the Wednesday morning after Mardi Gras. The photographer had to hurry to get there ahead the cleaning crews, who were doing the parking lot at the time. So deliberate entrapment is a big part of the case they brought to the ABO.

The ABO Board is a strange setup. Neither the board nor its members have their own lines of communication. The contact is McNamara himself, suggesting that he acts as both staff and prosecutor, and controls the information that goes to the judges.

If aggressive residentialist clubs like VCPORA, who now regularly rant against Demon Drink like resurrected Susan B. Anthonys, start to exploit the structural peculiarities of the ABO court as FMIA has, get ready for the lunatics to take over the asylum.

Speaking of asylums – Suarez did a bit of diplomatic sweeping up after herself Thursday. Let’s out her, shall we?

On a chat web site called Nextdoor, she shot out a jaw-dropper of a rant this week, using old-school racist language, including an off-the-wall personal attack on two people, as a non sequitur response to a poster’s simple statement that the elevator at the Mandeville entrance to Crescent Park was out of order. When Suarez, aka “Gi Neworleans,” grasped the public reaction to her vulgarity – which didn’t surprise me at all – the whole thread somehow was taken down.

But never fear, NOLAscapees – her wonderful words were copied before being winkled away into the webosphere. When you get there, don’t forget that “Gi Neworleans” is a cover name for Ms Lisa Suarez, President, Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association. Marigny residents, please let us know if you feel improved..

The Crescent Park elevators at the Marigny Street entrance are out of order.
                     Shared with Marigny + 7 nearby neighborhoods

     Adam Aronovitz from Bywater 1d ago
Yeah, I went by yesterday, how long has this been gOing on? Tried to bring my bike in

     Heidi Diekelman from Marigny 1d ago
Well, that didn’t take long.

     Julee Smith Pearce from Bywater 20h ago
Knew that wouldn’t last long!

     Pamela Yaeger from Marigny 3h ago
Those elevators are a joke. I can’t believe the genius who designed the elevators/bridge didn’t consider how bulky bikes are. You can barely get in with 2 people and 2 bikes. They should have put in larger freight sized elevators. SO TYPICAL NEW ORLEANS.

     Jane Lutz from Bywater 3h ago
Of course the elevators are a joke, they are just their to soothe the plebs until the next developer comes in and builds those tower condos on the river. This park was never built nor conceived for locals, it is there so developers have a chance at river front property.

     Grace Benesh from Bywater 3h ago
The park is open now at 6 am for those who like to walk, bike, run, etc. before work. Really beautiful sunrise to watch from the park this early too.

      Gi Neworleans from Marigny 1h ago
Hahahahahaha. Of course they are. And there won’t be money to fix them until evil-doer Sean Cummings has his high-rises on the River where only rich people can live (except for the 10 % of his staff at “affordable rents.”) Wonder when he will be called “Massa,” like they do his Plantation- owning Dad

Interesting how they work themselves up, isn’t it? “Jane Lutz” launches the imaginary stuff, “Grace Benesh” reminds us that Crescent Park is really a rather pleasant place, and “Gi Neworleans” lets the dogs out.

Of course, the elevator was quickly fixed. It was probably a circuit breaker or something. Cyclists did not have to wait five years for a building a mile or so away to be designed, go though approval, then get built, for a maintenance engineer to reset a breaker.

How Sean Cummings became evil and what that has to do with elevator maintenance might need discussion with somebody qualified in psychiatry. I don’t think electrical engineering or a study of the city’s forecasts for riverside construction are going to solve it. Electrical services got the elevator going, but are they really equipped to take on the existence of evil, the relative wealth of people who might one day live in apartments that don’t exist in a building that has not been designed yet, and forecast who is going to get the lowest cost apartments in the building? On the other hand, a qualified shrink might not have been able to re-start the elevator.

Read “Gi Neworleans” through a few times. Get the feel of what people have to put up with when they encounter this woman. Wonder a moment at the President of the Marigny residents club, so proud of her little title, hiding behind an alias  when writing on the Marigny section of a neighborhood web site where everyone else uses their name. And give a thought to the value of the organization that elects her president.

And think about Café Istanbul having to endure an ABO hearing because of these people.

How did Sean Cummings’ father get into this? He did restore one of the great river plantations. That is an expensive, high-stakes game, like maintaining private game preserves. You have to care a lot, because it is going to take huge investment, effort, energy and passion. I don’t know the guy, but take a look at this and try to justify Suarez’s addled outburst: http://www.whitneyplantation.com/index.html. The Whitney Plantation is now a museum and monument to the human nightmare of chattel slavery and racism of any kind. It’s not the Cummings who are using the racist language and codes here.


Okay, back to business. The Suarez faction that has taken over FMIA is trying to bring the McNamara/ABO oppression down on a valued young institution. Here is the previous NOLAscape on it: http://www.nolascape.org/the-plague/

If you know Café Istanbul but you have not been aware of this assault, and you can possibly come to help defend this valuable venue, please consider it a moral obligation. Or a permanent notch in your carbine stock of virtue. Information below.





01:00 P.M.
8. HEARING NUMBER: 17-15 (A), DISTRICT (C) RAMSEY/LEBEOUF; PERMITTEE: AYDIN & PERKINS, LLC d/b/a CAFÉ ISTANBUL; ADDRESS: 2372 St. Claude Avenue, Suite #140, New Orleans, LA 70117; LICENSE NO. 54132 and 54133; SUBMITTED: AUGUST 17, 2015

Let’s show up for this great place and its valued owners.

Bob Freilich, 11 September 2015

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Kim & Bob

For a brief break from analyzing recent dumps of fragrant Brim Stone rained upon us by the Plotters and Pests of the Suburban CIty Movement –

Let’s take a look at Kim Davis, the Apostolic Martyr of Rowan County, Kentucky.

The judge let her out!

You know who she is, right? A federal judge sent her to the slammer Thursday for contempt of court for defying his instruction to issue marriage licenses. Hardly a draconian order, since that is the job she signed on for. Since NOLAscapers are unlikely to care a lot who marries who, or what, as long as the music is good at the wedding, it can’t pass for a local issue, but our dearly beloved Governor has weighed in, so maybe I can get away with it.

“I don’t think anyone should have to choose between following their conscience and religious beliefs and giving up their job and facing financial sanctions. I think it’s wrong to force Christian individuals or business owners. We are seeing government today discriminate against whether it’s clerks, florists, musicians or others. I think that’s wrong. I think you should be able to keep your job and follow your conscience,” he said. “I absolutely do believe people have a First Amendment right, a constitutional right. I don’t think the court can take that away.”

Jindal, as you have probably noticed, has given up thinking in a straight line. No sensible person cares what these people believe. They can believe in UFOs, full-probe alien abductions and tax exemption for hot air. The Kentucky Clerks have to resign or get fired not because of beliefs, but because they are not doing the job. Just stamp the forms, or get out of the office.

Huckabee, one of the theocratic candidates of the Republican Entertainers Union 2016, was there to walk out with her and try to cut himself a slice of martyrdom, saying he would go to jail in her place, a nice quote and photo-op for his PAC.

Huck might have upstaged Jindal for now in the superstition stakes, and our Bobby might have ground his gears a bit a few weeks ago when he ordered Louisiana clerks to issue licenses, after a few day’s holdout to prove his faith bona-fides to the base. Or was that some other, non-biblical Louisiana? Anyway, Jindal is staunch in his support for Ms Davis going to jail for freedom of superstition. Unlike Preacher Huckabee, not up for going away himself, but we can count on him to bounce back. Can’t let an ex-governor of Arkansas trump a sitting prophet of Louisiana, because these two together are just too watchable, like waiting for the crash in a cheaply filmed car chase.

Ms Davis, Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, Capital Morehead, population about 127, has Beliefs, Sincerely Held. She is an elected official, tricky to get rid of. She is standing fast and holy against the Supreme and other Courts and her Governor’s instructions because God says she could go to Hell if a same-sex license has her name on it. The courts say if you issue hetero marriage licenses, you have to issue same-sex, so she stopped doing both – a touching bit of care for a detail while she faces down the judicial branch and inconveniences her county. So no licenses and she won’t resign.

She probably feels satisfyingly martyred and assured a seat in some kind of Kentucky heaven I don’t think I would like to even see on visiting day.

To help us understand the dilemma in Kentucky religious terms, Ms Kim Davis’s current husband told the press, “I’m just an old redneck hillbilly. Don’ come knockin’ on my door.” Some play a little Gotcha game because the Biblical proscription of divorce is clearer than on same-sex anything, but I wouldn’t worry about that little inconsistency. You’ll just get a headache looking for logic in this thing. Let’s just accept that the D-I-V-O-R-C-E ban has been superseded by a Redneck Hillbilly clause in the Kentucky Apostolic handbook, because she married this guy twice.

Then ol’ Jim doubled down on it, turning up in a full Beverley Hillbillies costume for her release. In the photos, Huckabee looks a bit uncomfortable. Maybe that’s the reason. Photoshop should pull it out of the fire for his campaign, but Jim is giving us a more important message: the power of positive ignorance must be respected.

Here are some of the rules: http://youtu.be/VU_8q9MGXeg

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What we are seeing here, playing out in the courthouse of Rowan County, Kentucky, is the next phase of the Scopes Trial. The film is going to be a challenge, though. Those hand fans that made the atmosphere in Inherit the Wind won’t be available in the age of air conditioning. Still, I think we can start fantasy-casting it now. Julianne Moore will probably get Kim Davis. She gets all that stuff.

There is a major legal and social difference, though. Back in 1925 when Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan were duking it out in Dayton, Tennessee, they spent a little time on whether evolution was true.

The guy who had made evolution illegal, a farmer and and state Rep named Butler, had no such qualms, though. He said, “I didn’t know anything about evolution… I’d read in the papers that boys and girls were coming home from school and telling their fathers and mothers that the Bible was all nonsense.” Isn’t States’ Rights a wonderful thing?

The new paradigm goes farther. Now the law doesn’t care whether the “belief” you use to justify some action, or inaction, is true or useful – only that you believe it, sincerely.

Ms Davis told rejected applicants that she overrides the Supreme Court by authority of God. What century are we in again? God doesn’t do documents, even in Kentucky, so you need Faith to learn the rules. Whose? Hers or the other guy’s?

Well, Kim got elected to this little post, and brought her version of the Prairie God of America into the office with her, without mentioning to the voters that she was going to do that. So we have a supernatural stand-off, the kind that always gives Europeans a good laugh, which they need, because as the world’s persistent pain in the ass, America as a political entity doesn’t always inspire a lot of cheer.

“I think it’s wrong to force Christian individuals . . . .” said Jindal. What about Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Scientologists, Atheists? Jindal is actually saying, right there in public, standing with the publicly pious like Huckabee, that he thinks people in government service have a right to elevate the rules of one kind of god over the obligations they signed on for and all the other kinds of god clamoring for some attention. Next thing you know, we’ll have those CIA girls in Nevada refusing to drone Yemeni weddings on Sunday. Or maybe Saturday. Stephen Colbert got the Late Show just in time, because comedy is coming.

Nobody forces anyone, Christian or otherwise, to issue marriage licenses, unless they take on a job where that is the work. Nobody has to drive a bus, unless they take a job as a bus driver. Then if they just sit at one stop every day so their passengers can’t get to work, they have to get replaced, even if they say, “I saw the Devil behind the lamppost over there.

The same sentence in the First Amendment is used as the constitutional justification by both sides. Separation of church and state was guided by Thomas Jefferson, other constitution contributors and George Mason, who wrote the religions clause of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, one of the models for the Constitution.

Christian hustlers like Huckabee; suck-ups like Rand Paul; idiots like Louis Gohmert; whatever kind of creature Cruz is; and Red State Governors including Bobby himself have another interpretation: religion can interfere in civil government, but the other way don’t fly.

They accuse the courts of coercing the faithful. That’s bad, they say, even though they are okay with one flavor of one faith coercing the government and the whole town of Morehead. I don’t see it. Has any judge or legislature instructed a religion or a clergy-person to perform same-sex marriage? There is a conflict to resolve about services and the obligations of a business. But it is certain now that some of our Prairie Pious and tent-show prophets demand the right for their “beliefs” to take over a government office, trump the job description and the service it is there for.

Thought experiment: Ms Davis is Mrs Dawoud, an observant Muslim. She got elected, but now will not process marriage licenses for unions of infidels and Muslims of any sex. Or for people who will serve pork at the reception. Her reason: her Imam, a serious, peaceful man of faith, tells her that Sharia requires she stand fast for Allah and the Koran. Would these staunch defenders of conscience be there for her?

We know the difference, don’t we? Islamic Sharia is for terrorists. Christian Sharia is for Faith and Holy Exemption.

While we are imagining – an Apostolic Pentecostal pastor can’t accept a decision of the elders. He refuses to preach it. They order him to, but he won’t. He shuts down services, forbids his assistants to lead prayer or preach. He shuts down his congregation because his faith tells him the ruling is sinful. Every Sunday, he shuts the door and sits quietly while media journalists film him doing nothing. What do the bishops or the elders do? What does Jindal say?

Wait until this belief movement wanders down to New Orleans from Rowan County, Kentucky. Maybe Candidate Huckabee will set up a pulpit inside the New Orleans cordon sanitaire against Jindalism and help us get it rolling. We are going to see some beliefs coming out of the woodwork. Huckabee will probably make a run for it after an hour. The religious belief guys really mean Evangelicalism, but a can of worms is a can of worms, right? We have a church every hundred yards or so, and residents’ associations hiring lawyers to tell us you can’t open restaurants near them. We have forest Wicca, Caribbean Santeria and swamp magic; lots of Catholics, Baptists, gospel, jazz, blues and BAM. Mosques and synagogues and chapels and covens and cathedrals. And foodies. More beliefs than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio. Sincerely held? Come on, you know your neighbors.

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In the constitutional debate, both sides use the same words of the First Amendment to justify their positions. Does

” . . .  no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”

mean separation of church and state, or does it mean you can believe any old stuff in the free market of religions, and government can’t stop you playing it out in your job or anywhere?

They like the Tenth Amendment, too, the one about states’ rights: whatever is not reserved to the feds is the domain of the states.

But states are crazy. What did Louisiana governors do with its state’s rights after the Civil War? Check out the the Black Codes of 1865. Reconstruction put that down, but when President Rutherford B. Hayes ended the occupation in 1877, the Redeemers, a wing of the Democratic Party dominated by the old plantation class, quickly gained power. People found out what states’ rights meant: subjugation and humiliation of African Americans, including its confirmation by that great Louisiana landmark, Plessy v. Ferguson, resolved by the Supreme Court under another Louisiana landmark, white supremacist Chief Justice Edward Douglas White, member of the Knights of the White Camellia, whose ugly old soul and role is commemorated by statue on the steps of the courthouse at 400 Royal Street.

State’s rights justified a cruel apartheid regime across the South, Louisiana included, until the Civil Rights Act of 1965, which didn’t quite win, because after de jure segregation was struck down, the South learned the ways of de facto segregation as practiced in the rest of the country.

I’m trying to think of cases in which a state claimed state’s rights to expand freedom and justice beyond federal expectation instead of restricting it. Maybe Vermont and Massachusetts in healthcare and the marijuana states. Southern and Bible-thumper states almost always vote for greater injustice, entrenched prejudice and constitutionally muddled thinking.

Can you imagine Huckabee, Jindal and Kim Davis working out what states should do about religion and “race” and civil liberties?

There’s not much good that can be said about Jindal. I can only think of two things. He won’t be Governor much longer, and he isn’t going anywhere in the Republican Presidential caucus race. Supporting Kentucky’s latest revival star isn’t going to help him, but if he tries to take back the martyr slot from Huckabee before he goes, he should give us some fun on the way out.

Okay – back to saving New Orleans from the Residentialist Jihad.

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Emergency on Maple Street

Tomorrow in City Council a bill sponsored by Susan Guidry will be introduced. It is really sponsored by Maple Area Residents. which is run by Keith Hardie, an anti-alcohol, anti-music puritanical stalwart out of the American Gothic playbook, with possibly a more consistent stance in favor of boredom and unemployment than even VCPORA.

Just to show he has the skills of a good VCPORA-like image-without-facts campaign, like the downtown Meg Lousteau acolytes, he has informed his area residents and people of the sky-is-falling persuasion around the city that “the beast is slouching toward their door.” Not bad, is it? A three piece band accompanying meals is a slavering saber-toothed comic book monster. Does Hardie believe his own jive? Does anybody?

Hardie and his co-Apocalyptics of the FQ, who will be clumped up in their usual corner at council, wasting the city’s time with endless prating about the quality of life of the people with some of the best quality of life on the planet, usually go on about the Master Plan. Oh, they love the Master Plan, do our citizens for banning almost everything. They explain it to the Council Members, then to double down on the ludicrous spectacle, they explain it to Bob Rivers, head of the City Planning Council. Yes, Mr Rivers does need help with zoning law and city planning from a gaggle of silly twits.

Oh, am I being impolite? So sorry. It’s easy to change, though. Just stop doing it.

New Orleans used to be more permeated with music than now. That’s how New Orleans became known as the greatest music city in the world. Back before TV and air conditioning, when people were outside more and did not think that popular culture was The Real Housewives of Transylvania, brass bands roamed around on flatbed trucks with advertising signs. Music was a sponsored program. Zoning had not been extended into a slow pressure bourgeois takeover of urban life. There was music in corner bars everywhere. Out of the bars and weekend juke joints came the great names the city erects statues to, and that visitors come think about, but dishonors in bowing to the boring pressure of its Keith Hardies and VCPORAs.

The “Quality of Life” brigades like to pretend to preservationism. It is unfortunate the Preservation Resource Center, which used to be the real grown-up preservationist, is now allowing itself to be dragged into the neighborhood residents’ repressive causes. I hope Patty Gay, its president, wakes up to this and stops Carol Allen from dragging her organization down to VCPORA’s level. Preservationism implies history. If the Hoodies know any history they didn’t make up themselves, they are not going to tell you about it.

The Master Plan implies that some of the old freedom and gaiety would be allowed back. Parts of it almost glow with more freedom, more music, regulated by good sound ordinance, not by abuse of zoning law to control what it is not designed for. Read the Master Plan – promise of light, air and freedom is everywhere.

New Orleans people like to eat – that’s why we have over 1,600 restaurants in a small city. And they like music. That is why historically there has been music everywhere. And they like to eat and listen together – that is why the consultants who wrote the Master Plan and the CZO put these freedoms in.

What’s the downside of Maple Area Residents attempt to suppress, using Susan Guidry as their cat’s paw in council? Guidry’s bill wants Maple Street made an exception to the law. Hardie’s little club would become the law. The music police. Hardie’s club has voted against everything public entertainment always. So there ain’t going to be none.

Let’s say that means just two restaurants can’t have dinner bands. Let’s say they could have economically had, under the real law, three player combos three nights a week. That’s 18 work shifts a week not available to working musicians. 936 paying shifts a year. Musicians don’t usually make a lot for these gigs. Let’s say they average $40. That’s $37,440 withheld from people that work hard for it, unable to work because of the Hardie-Guidry bill to nullify the law for the comfort and privilege of a few.

The two restaurants would be less attractive than others with the freedom given by the proper law, so they will lose some business. Let’s say they have to reduce staff by two waiters and two cooks. That’s four full time jobs lost. Four jobs, in the current state of unemployment here, lost to the quality of life bleat of a few lawyers who want less risk of ambient sound while they watch Fox news.

Hardie and his club won’t care. Hoodies live in a them-and-us paradigm that comes out of the deep center of Southern history.

But CM Susan Guidry should be embarrassed to bring this ugly anti-employment, anti-service industry bill before the Council – and I hope the Council will have the wisdom to slap it down.

If you can’t come to the Council Chamber to object, email the council members.

The links that will help are in MaCCNO’s Facebook page, and even better, copy of their newsletter.

While you are reading it, think of what the economy of the imperial corporate state is already doing to the incomes of people not trying to be predators or get rich, just make a fair living in an honest job in society. Ask yourself who looks more like a slouching beast, Brylski and her clients Stuart Smith, Guidry and her constituents Hardie and MAR, or some musicians engaged to make a restaurant experience more pleasant. If you can vote for the lawyers, you may be in the wrong neighborhood. You might be more at home in a Republican golf club in Dallas.

Don’t let the musicians and service industry jobs down just to pamper some uptown lawyers. The beast slouching toward their doors is going to turn out to be a miniature poodle. They will be all right.

Bob Freilich, 2 September 15

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