The language series has another chapter or two to go, but something is going on right here that needs ferocious opposition. With the violence going on in Washington now – and I do not mean in the streets – we might even wonder if Landrieu is using Shock Doctrine cover to shove a junk “security” law through. After the W regime’s long, exhausting eight years degrading the country, and what the current gang of would be Genghiz Khans is up to as we speak, we should all feel an icy stab in a sensitive place when we hear the word “security.”
Disclaimer: I do not have as much information on the latest pointless attack on Bourbon Street as I should. Yet. I should have been down there two weeks ago, checking out my own experts, who are a lot smarter than Ms. Burns’s experts, believe me (the new standard in fact checking). I have to get my lazy butt down to Bourbon Street and start digging. If I have this wrong, I will do some groveling and retracting.
I don’t know if anything can be done about this. I don’t know if we can get the sane and sound Council Members on the case. I don’t know if Mayor Mitch Landrieu can reach in, find some character, and call intermission on the political vaudeville, triangulation and balancing acts and do something – or in this case, not do something – because it is smart and right. Let’s hope.
Maybe, just maybe, I can encourage some more people to notice what is happening, go down to City Hall or Bourbon Street or get on the phone and complain a lot. Tell Landrieu & Co. to stop screwing around. If you want to get into reduction of crime, jump in. But as the old saying goes, Keep it real. Blow off silly regulations about when the pubs close. That has absolutely bugger-all to do with crime.
The approximately biennial huffing and puffing about Bourbon Street by all the ever-so-respectable ladies of all the various genders has nothing to do with crime. Their proposals have to do only, solely and exclusively with two things: the ancient, tortured, boring, apparently unkillable though frequently violent American tendency toward public Puritanism (public is all I can take; I don’t even like to think about what they get up to when the curtains are closed) and one of its offshoots, the stultifying, smug, bottomlessly ugly, self-satisfied self-righteousness of the petite bourgeoisie de la ville. “Something must be done!” they say to each other, as they order some nice cakes for the meeting, working quietly on their best look of decorous outrage. (I deny sexism! The women who come and go, talking of Michelangelo – they come in all sorts of genders now.)
If you have a deep drag of a semi-legal substance to assist your imagination, lean back and let your mind stroll through the French Quarter, your senses will catch the Neighborhood Ladies pheromones, a sickly-sweet, lace and velvet allure. Wafting. That’s a great word. Lilac scent wafting. Some of them of course will be dressed in the latest active wear, speaking in crisp tones honed at Loyola – but keep all your senses open. You will see into their DNA. You will see and hear their Anglo great great grandmother who came downriver from Missouri, turning up their bony noses at these licentious New Orleans foreigners and Frenchies.
The real Puritans are feverish and rancid. You may need another little drag on the vape to survive this . . . waft. They turn virtue into a suppurating infection. More restrictions on “live entertainment” are folded into the package. In Bourbon Street context, “live entertainment” is code for strip clubs. That means the evangelical Catholic misery of Jim Kelly of Covenant House must be in the mix, dribbling self-righteous venom, protecting other people from illusions of sex, under a dreary cover story of saving women from themselves. His tired old tale is now probably reinvigorated by the pious platform of Michael Pence, worst of his name, appointed by the Mercer/Bannon fascist coup as one of the distractions from the damage they want to do.
Yes, Bourbon Street is OTT because it caters to tourism. Yes, it has gone bogus. A Disney illusion of sin, a synthetic soupçon of Storyville. I don’t want to encourage more of that. The tourist industry worldwide is now destroying urban and natural environments, causing homogenization endangering differentiation. Packs of overweight Americans and Germans in Bermuda shorts clumping though Venice and Florence is not the way to honor the Quattrocento. Cities are great human creations. States like Louisiana are artificial constructions desperate for relevance, largely cover stories for corruption. Why is the governor in this? Source of funds, no doubt. And the ever-present Edmondson, field commander of a troop of anti-urban SUV jockeys whose net effect is to make New Orleans look like Shreveport – why is he on the stage?
(I hope that is right. I have never been to Shreveport, but it has such a state-police type of name.)
Let’s take a stand and preserve cities against artificial entities of questionable purpose. The first thirteen states were entities with history that were real to the founders. More real than the country they were inventing. The rest of them are just imitations based on the federal idea. But that is another essay.
Now, before I forget what this story was about:
Jeff Adelson posted in The Advocate, 28 January at 6:30 PM:
“Landrieu press secretary Erin Burns said in a statement that requiring bars to close their doors after 3 a.m. “is one piece of our larger, $40 million public safety improvement strategy that is designed to address the issue as a whole” and that was arrived at “after consulting with several security experts and local stakeholders as well as analyzing the practices of other cities.”
Burns said most of the other cities studied “completely close (bars) at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., and many of the experts we consulted suggested that we do the same,” but she added that New Orleans “is a 24-hour city, and we do not feel that closing bars completely would be appropriate for the authenticity of our unique culture.”
However, she said, having bars “simply close their doors at 3 a.m. could encourage people to move inside. We believe this will contribute to a more controlled physical environment, and when coupled with the other security measures in our plan, it (will) allow us to see progress in reducing crime on our streets.”
What kind of slippery slime. . . has Erin Burns been taking a Kellyanne course?
Who precisely are the “experts” this time? The mixed bag of ex-cops, PIs and security company managers who claim to be security experts should not be summed up in a vague collective. Security expertise is a trade riddled with semi-competents who extrapolate from locking down a warehouse against burglars to managing a city. Let’s hear something about their understanding of freedom and our urban life before they bleat “security.” When they leave the cops to make more money, they watch a couple of thrillers about Afghanistan, get a few gigs putting in alarm systems, hang out a shingle for the anxious gullible, and abracadabra, they are experts.Some of their understanding of complexity is two burglars instead of one. In the 2013/14 assault on Bourbon, masterminded and master-funded by lawyer Smith and his agents in VCPORA, we got to see what kind of expertise is available, for a price. Who are they, what exactly did they say, how do they know and who paid their fee?
“Local stakeholders.” Which exactly? Neighborhood associations? VCPORA and FQC, the ceaseless moaners of the Quarter? I am writing on suspicion here If it turns out not to be the crotchety ladies of the FQ, I will fall all over myself apologizing.
Satisfying them, as we have so often seen, does not depend on effectiveness. They are happy just to annoy people they don’t like. They play a politics of gesture, a counterpoint to the mayor’s illusion of action. They bask in the feeling that they exercised some power over others. I imagine them at night behind velvet curtains before a gilt-framed mirror, stripping slowly, out of sight of Preacher Kelly, thinking: “We showed them!”
“Other cities.” So what? So fucking what? New Orleans is not other cities. Which cities, anyway? Cities we want to be like, or centers of tedium we want to avoid? Bourbon Street is not other cities. Bourbon Street is the world leader of streets like Bourbon Street, all trying to imitate Bourbon Street.
“Other cities close at 2 AM.” Of course they do. Do you have to be a “security expert” to know that or suggest that?
2 AM cities include, for instance, Oakland CA and Philadelphia, both with higher violent crime rates than New Orleans.
Come on, Ms Burns. Entertain us with an alternative fact instead. If it is an actual quotation, such an inane remark should disqualify a security “expert,” unless he has some sound and solid reasoning, data, evidence and logic to back up why a restriction we all know is really part of the boring legacy of the temperance movement would be a net benefit for New Orleans. If this was the best our administration’s “experts” could come up with, we can strike their testimony for a start.
“We believe.” What!? Who cares what they bloody believe? You do not run cities and make rules that limit the lives and restrict the liberty of people on faith. This is a tragically stupid statement.
“A more controlled physical environment.” Is there a meaning in there somewhere? What is a “physical environment”? Does she means fewer people visible in the street? Just some lonely footsteps on the glistening cobblestones. Very picturesque, to assuage the feelings (similar to belief – evidence free, a desire to make others look more like yourself) of the respectable gentry that streets should be quiet, that only people like them should be out and about, if, for instance, they have a sudden 3 AM need to water the begonias in the window box. This is mealy mouthed meaninglessness. Language intended to obfuscate, not to clarify. Sorry, Ms Burns; this is the worst kind of PR. You have to either go all Kellyanne or give Jeff an answer – but it’s crap. And I would bet you know it.
“. . . progress in reducing crime in our streets.” Mayor Landrieu has been working in government for years. He comes from a political family. They talked politics over turkey at Sunday lunch. He didn’t get to be mayor by thinking in illusions. He should not be peddling them to us, or sending poor Ms Burns out to embarrass herself by telling Jeff Adelson such utter bunk.
Landrieu knows perfectly well that no serious crime will be reduced by such silly measures as this. If there is any effect at all, it will be to move it around the chessboard. These are attempts at cosmetic law – but a very ugly, rear-view kind of cosmetology it is. It will make Bourbon Street worse and New Orleans worse.
A few days before, January 23d, Jeff Adelson posted for The Advocate, “The plan also calls for increasing regulations on strip clubs and live entertainment venues in the French Quarter and further restricting performers at Jackson Square, while “rebranding the French Quarter and Bourbon Street’s image as a cultural destination.”
So we see Kelly’s fingerprints all over this. Come on, New Orleans, rid yourselves of this plague of disguised piety.
“Rebranding . . .” Bourbon Street’s growth and branding has been an exemplary, almost unique instance of competitive cooperation. It is rare, difficult to emulate and should under no circumstances be co-opted by politicians and Puritans cloaking a lust to control in a fake language of social benefit. The most notable example in history of evolution like Bourbon Street is Classical Greece! Okay, they drank diluted wine instead of Bourbon whiskey and Hand Grenades, but they developed one of the world’s handful of great civilizations with independent city-states sharing a common culture, leaderless, competing within a cooperating environment, creating the beginnings and source of the culture we still live in today – until a controlling, ambitious, power-hungry warlord, Phillip of Macedon (Alexander’s father) looted and pillaged them all into submission.
Bourbon Street does not need re-branding by politicians, police and Puritans. Blow this off!
We are watching daily the Trumpians use illusionists’ misdirection while they pillage the country and try to install Bannonite tyranny. This, however – this is the misdirection itself. The illusion and the objective are one. This is a performance by the Mayor of Smoke and Mirrors, impresario of the Politics of Illusion.
Would you like to hear a radical proposal to close off? Or is it perhaps a memory – that Landrieu does not want you to remember?
It s the job of the police and the administration to stop or prevent crime in our environment – NOT to reshape the environment to make policing and administering easier!
© NOLAscape 30 January 2013