Speech

January 11th, 2007 by Editor B

I’m speaking at today’s march for five minutes, a task for which I feel utterly inadequate. I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts. Here’s what I’m planning to say:

Helen Hill was a close personal friend of mine, and her murder affected me deeply. Helen’s funeral took place yesterday in South Carolina, and today we’re marching in New Orleans. But make no mistake: We’re not marching just for Helen Hill. We’re marching for Dick Shavers. We’re marching for Jealina Brown. We’re marching for Steve Blair and Corey Hayes and Eddy Saint Fleur and Monier Gindy. We’re marching for Don Morgan and Larry Glover and Mike Frey. We’re marching for Preston Turner, a 15-year-old child who was gunned down in broad daylight on the street corner near my house in Mid-City, back in 2004. And does anybody remember that day in June of 2004 where nine people were killed by guns in just over 24 hours?

This is not a new problem. It’s not a Katrina problem. Katrina just provided a momentary interruption. This wave of violent crime has been on the rise for years and it had left us feeling sad and scared and very, very angry. I’m still sad, but they tell me you learn to cope with that. I’m still scared but anyone who’s lived in New Orleans for a while knows you learn to cope with that too. But the anger sticks around. And that’s why we’re here. Fear keeps you in your house, but anger drives you out into the streets.

But there’s another feeling that doesn’t get talked about as much and that’s shame. I think we all feel a sense of shame — or we should — because this murderous violent society is our society.

Fueling our anger is the perception that our leaders do not share our fear and our sense of shame. And so today I want to say shame on you, Mayor Nagin, Superintendent Riley, District Attorney Jordan. You’ve really let us down. You have failed us. The criminal justice system and the government is broken. And I want to communicate to you the level of outrage that my friends and neighbors are feeling, because we don’t think you get it. Families that have lived in New Orleans for over 300 years are talking about leaving. People displaced by the flood are saying they are afraid to come back. That is the level of hopelessness and despair. They’d like you to step up and just do your jobs — but they don’t think you can. They’d like you to step down and resign — but they’re afraid you’d be replaced with equally incompetent people. Many of my neighbors believe that we need to see the federal government step in and literally take over New Orleans, or at least the criminal justice system. The feeling seems to be that even FEMA couldn’t screw up any worse than we have. At first I thought that was a joke. But it seems more possible every day, and there’s nothing funny about that.

Leaders, you need to do something that many of us think you can’t do. You need to be honest. You need to admit that what you’re doing isn’t working, and plan a return to true community policing. I’ve got an article here from six years ago that praises New Orleans as a model for how to reduce violent crime. Between 1994 and 1999 the murder rate here went down 65%. The credit goes to something called community policing, decentralizing personnel into neighborhoods, with increased responsibilities and accountability for district commanders. Of course to do community policing we will need more police, and that means better pay, so that a cop can get assigned to just one or two zones and really get to know that neighborhood, and neighbors can know them. Let’s get back to that.

But we also need to think of creative solutions outside traditional law enforcement strategies. We desperately need to experiment with some kind of decriminalization, to eliminate the black market for drugs. Some will say that’s too radical, but we say there’s nothing too radical when the stakes are this high.

Of course we want action, not rhetoric. Above all we want results. We must have a higher felony conviction rate. The national average is 57%. Our current rate is 7%. We must see a reduction in crime, and especially violent crime, and that is the bottom line. But how will we know whether or not this is being achieved? That is why we must have full, independently audited, disclosure of crime statistics.

We know that law enforcement alone can’t solve these problems. We need long-term solutions too. We must have better schools. We must have an economy beyond tourism. We must pay workers a living wage. We must fight racism and classism. It will take all of us. It will take community involvement. Well, look around. The community IS involved. And we will stay involved. To our political class: You’re on notice. We will be watching.

Edit: Just after I posted this, my old boss and friend Todd S. called me and advised that the final sentences (about coming back to City Hall with pitchforks and torches to “burn the castle down”) hit a discordant note. He was right. I deleted that portion immediately. Thanks, Todd.

Update: I will apparently be bringing this message to Anderson Cooper 360 tonite. CNN, show at 9PM, I’m on at 9:20 or so. That’s Central time. I’ll try to rise to the occasion.

Update: Geoffrey posted audio of all the speakers at the rally. Scout Prime posted the video of Editor B on AC 360.

91 Responses to “Speech”

  1. Banzai Bill Says:

    My wishes and thoughts are with you and everyone at the March. I think this will be a powerful speech. I can’t be there, but I am there in spirit.

  2. ally Says:

    Bravo! Wish I could be there. You really encapsulated the situation very well. I’m sharpening the blades on my pitchfork.

  3. Marco Says:

    I wish I could there with ya’. Keep up the good anger. Don’t let ever let up.

  4. Sophmom Says:

    I got chills. I so wish I could be there. Beautifully, bravely said.

  5. leslie Says:

    Excellent speech. Good job. The crowd loved you. Will be very interesting to hear the Mayor respond.

  6. Jeff Elbo Says:

    Excellent speech B.

  7. Andrea and PJ Says:

    You hit the nail square on the head, B.

  8. RobynCz Says:

    Your passion, compassion, determination are inspiring. It’s people like you–like all of you who had the courage to march today–who will bring New Orleans back from the brink.

    From where I sit, far from New Orleans these days, it all looks so overwhelming. I can’t imagine what things are like in the thick of it. Thank you for sticking it out and for saying what needs to be said.

    I pray it makes a difference.

    Robyn in Austin

  9. Varg Says:

    Excellent job today, you summed up how much of the city currently feels. Particularly in regards to our leadership.

  10. Amanda Says:

    So sorry I couldn’t make it today. Can you email me other opportunities to help? I would appreciate it, as I live here and I want to stay here…

  11. Maitri Says:

    Bart, I was there when you gave this speech to the city and it was so well-received. We should adopt this as our new crime charter and act on it ASAP. Community policing now!

  12. Loki Says:

    Bart, you made me tear up. I was three feet in front of the podium trying to get a god shot with my crappy little cameraphone and you brought tears to my eyes. I do not dissemble when I say that JFK could not have done it better, and the pure unbridled emotion in your voice lay to rest any possible thought of your insincerity.

    I want you to know that there was some really great visual puctuation. When you hitthe line about “even FEMA could nt screw up worse,” Nagin got a auseous expression on his face, turned away and wiped sweat from his brow. You nailed him. Hard.

    You also nailed me hard, especially with the comment about families here for 300 years. It felt as though you were speaking directly to me.

    Bravo, kudos, high marks!

  13. Alan Gutierrez Says:

    Bart

    Yours was one of the most stirring speaches I will hear in my life. It was truely a great moment. An Army-McCarthy moment.

  14. G Bitch Says:

    Bart, would you allow me to post your speech? I have some amateur audio…..

  15. Tony Says:

    Sorry I missed your speech B, but from what I’ve read you’re spot on with every relevant point. Couldn’t release myself from work to join ya’ll. Even though I live in the Westbank I’d have been there for sure. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a video of it somewhere including the entire event, right? To see the expression on Nagin’s face would be a bonus.

  16. MAD Says:

    Your presentation and that of Karen Gadbois were the best. Congratulations on your courage and boldness in criticizing the public officials standing just a few feet from you. They deserved it, and they need to hear it.

  17. Editor B Says:

    Thanks for all the praises, but it must be said that I just repeated back what I’ve been hearing from my neighbors in Mid-City and friends around New Orleans. I hate playing the “angry white man” — I really do. Despite the great outpouring of support and community, I did not enjoy this task. But I said what I thought needed to be said.

  18. Keith Scarmuzza Says:

    Bart,

    Thank you for saying all the things you said today at the rally. It was very brave of you to make those statements with all of the city “leaders” standing nearby. I think many people probably feel like I do – that you said a lot of things I’ve been wishing I could communicate to City Hall.

    Great job, and I’m sorry about the loss of your friend. I too feel great loss about the current state of our society.

    Keith Scarmuzza

  19. slate Says:

    B, I was there. It was beautiful. It was powerful. It was perfect. Your courage in saying it was an inspiration. I will remember it for the rest of my life.

    I’m so proud of you.

  20. dsb nola Says:

    B, you nailed that speech. Your seething anger was palpable. I recorded most of the speeches and G Bitch is going to post some MP3s tomorrow, I think: http://g-bitch.com/

    I’ve got some pictures from today posted: http://www.flickr.com/photos/derek_b/354370696/

    Thanks for everything you’re doing.

  21. R. James Says:

    A powerful, heartfelt, and eloquent speech that brought tears to my eyes.

    Need more folks like those today who wore it on their sleeve!
    Don’t let NOLA die!

  22. R. C. Says:

    Will the march commemorating the lives of our friends and loved ones be cover for Riley, Nagin, and Blanco to institute police terror?

    Yesterday I have had three disturbing encounters with police.

    The first encounter was at 3 PM. I was driving to the library when I noticed the road was blocked by Humvees. Eight cops were busy maintaining law and order at the neighborhood high school, mostly by blocking the ingress and egress of traffic and shooing the teens away so as to ensure any fights happen off school premises.

    The second encounter was the most disturbing. On the way to a friends house I was stopped at a police checkpoint. As I exited the I-10 at Carrolton I saw a cop car with its lights off pulled over on the shoulder. It was 8 PM. I was asked to pull over so that the police could check my vehicle for any obvious minor infractions. You see, this gives them a chance to é─˙sweaté─¨ you, looking for any signs of nervousness which they then claim is probable cause for a search. While calmly waiting, I counted EIGHTEEN police cars plus a paddy wagon in the vicinity. Car 3129 from the 2nd, car 279, Traffic 232, cars 3807, and 3812 were and many more. Anger boiled over. é─˙This is bullshité─¨ leaped out of my mouth. I couldné─˘t believe é─˙You just want to push people out of New Orleans.é─¨ Officer Williams verbally communicated a court date and I was given an illegible copy of a citation. I guess Ié─˘d better do the research to see what Ié─˘m being charged with. I could not believe it.

    Then finally getting home at night and beginning to calm down, I see a black and white cruising down the residential street at what must be 50 mph. No siren, no lights, no reason to be flaunting the law. But again, this is New Orleans.

    New Orleans has a police problem. In one of the most historically corrupt police departments, it is a MISTAKE to give these jackbooted thugs more power. These are the same police that murdered Delgado College student Jenard Thomas in the ninth ward less than a year before Katrina. Ité─˘s no wonder regular people in many neighborhoods hate the cops. Random checkpoints and issuing more traffic citations- even issuing more DUI and simple drug possession charges- will not address the systemic problems that cause violent crime in our city. If anything it will just create more fear among the populace- fear each other and fear of the police.

    Louisiana already has a higher incarceration rate that China under Mao. As of 2005, Atlanta has 354 police per 100,000 residents. Boston had 367, Oakland had 176. ***New Orleans already has 608 police per 100,000 residents***

    Random checkpoints between 2-6AM, random checkpoints any time of day or night, talk of curfews. When will it end? We have to stop the politicians before our city is negatively transformed and we wake up in a police state.

    ______________________________________________________
    SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

    ACLU says get tough on crime and protect our freedom; checkpoints, FEMA lists & cameras will not make us any safer, only less free

    Strengthen communities and families and rebuild support structures.
    Independent oversight of police needed to root out bad guys, build trust

    For immediate release January 10, 2007: Contact Joe Cook at
    504-522-0628

    NEW ORLEANS-In response to the severe crime problem in New Orleans, the ACLU
    of Louisiana says get tough and lawfully target known criminals, while
    respecting and protecting our constitutional freedoms. At the same time,
    independent oversight of the police is needed more than ever to help root
    out the unfit and build trust with the public. Furthermore, we call on
    public officials to engage in preventative measures to strengthen
    communities and families and rebuild support structures.

    “Use smart policing to lawfully target known murderers, rapists, robbers,
    and assaulters and bring them to justice,” said Joe Cook, Executive
    Director, ACLU of Louisiana. “Simultaneously, Chief Riley needs to act
    quickly and decisively to make sure officers are fit for duty or remove them
    from the force, so people will cooperate and have confidence in the system.”

    Immediately, public officials need to get down to business with some common
    sense alternatives to their failed ‘get tough on crime’ tactics of the past.
    That has led Louisiana to have one of the highest crime and incarceration
    rates in the world. As such, higher numbers of arrests will not necessarily
    make us safer, but precise targeting of individual serious and violent
    offenders can help. The problem with our criminal justice system is not
    softness but low apprehension rates in that 85% of offenders are never
    caught.

    The ACLU strongly opposes the automobile checkpoints as announced by Mayor
    Nagin and Chief Riley at yesterday’s press conference. Police will just
    waste valuable time on a fishing expedition, instead of using credible leads
    to pursue known bad actors. Checkpoints to gather general evidence of
    criminal wrongdoing have been declared unconstitutional. Innocent people
    should not have to suffer even more with the loss of their right to travel
    freely.

    Likewise, Senator Landrieu should scuttle her proposal to make FEMA violate
    a federal privacy law and give identifying information of aid recipients to
    the police. People who have lost their homes and live in a trailer should
    not have to lose their privacy as well. No evidence has been presented to
    show that disclosure of the sought after information would aid in fighting
    crime. The federal law at issue protects all FEMA aid recipients from going
    into a criminal database, which includes virtually everybody in the New
    Orleans metro area. Turning innocent people’s social security numbers and
    addresses over to the police will do nothing to make us safer from violent
    criminals.

    Senator Landrieu’s proposal for surveillance cameras raises even more
    questions. No objective data exists to support the use of video
    surveillance by police in public places to prevent or solve crimes. In
    London, where 150,000 cameras were installed to reduce crime, certain
    incidents of violent crime actually rose after the network was installed.
    In-studio staff, however, were found to engage in violations of civil
    liberties: They focused almost exclusively on people of color, gays and
    young people, along with monitoring public meetings, marches and
    demonstrations. Instead of cameras, use the money on fundamental reforms
    proposed below to lower the crime rate.

    ACLU 5-point Action Plan:
    1. Invest in real crime prevention. Young men 15 to 29 years old commit most
    of the alarming street crime in New Orleans and across the nation. The key
    to crime prevention lies in strong families and communities–jobs with a
    livable wage, decent housing and neighborhoods, quality schools for
    everyone-not more prisons.
    2. Move forward with staffing and funding the office of the Independent
    Monitor for the NOPD to hold the police accountable to the people who pay
    their salaries. People will not cooperate with police officers that they do
    not trust or respect.
    3. Expand non-prison sanctions for non-violent offenders-tickets instead of
    jail for minor offenses; wider use of release on personal recognizance, home
    detention, restitution, etc. Save costly prison space for those who should
    be removed from society. Cease wasting taxpayer money on wasteful
    incarceration in Louisiana’s state and local jails that already cost
    taxpayers close to one billion dollars a year.
    4. Treat non-violent drug abuse and small quantity possession as a public
    health issue, not a crime problem. Nearly two-thirds of today’s prisoners
    are non-violent drug abusers. They need treatment, not a jail or prison
    cell.
    5. Stop enacting or considering ineffective “anti-crime” laws or policies
    like check points, surveillance cameras, and release of FEMA lists to law
    enforcement that reduce our freedoms – but not our crime rate. Many police,
    prosecutors and corrections officials agree that constitutional rights do
    not hinder effective law enforcement.

    “Again, we need to think creatively and make changes already proven to work
    elsewhere, like those presented at the most recent crime summit,” emphasizes
    Cook. “Invest heavily in prevention that stabilizes and strengthens
    families to prevent crime, which makes more sense than just trying to catch
    criminals after people have been murdered, raped, or robbed. Stop wasting
    valuable police resources on arresting and incarcerating people on municipal
    offenses for which a citation would suffice.”

    Cook goes on to say, “Effective law enforcement and protection of civil
    liberties are both essential in a democracy with individual liberty. The
    ACLU believes that we can be both safe and free.”

    How to solve New Orleans’ crime problem
    From NOLA.COM January 10, 2007 14:18

    Wendy King of New Orleans, LA, writes:

    We will not solve New Orleans’ crime problem, until we address all of the crime wave’s underlying causes. None of the city’s constant “crime summits” (all of them on tape, and at the top of each newscast) will solve the city’s crime problems, if they don’t fix the social ills which fuel the crime wave. I’m glad to see our city’s clergy out there, and understand the desperation behind the black clergy’s “Enougn!” signs staked up and down South Claiborne Avenue. However those signs won’t sway those who keep killing and injuring our citizens, no matter what the victims’ race or economic status was. A lot of our young criminals are not only returnees from other cities, and came back to a city with no opportunities for them. Many of them had been held at Central Lockup before the storm, and escaped in the chaos afterwards. Many of our most at-risk young people have learning and emotional needs that weren’t addressed when they started school, and tho!
    se problems have made them unable to stay in school, do classwork, prepare for LEAP tests or other assignments, or learn to work with their teachers or their classmates. If they can’t master these social and academic skills in school, and no one is there to help them, they leave school, and get into trouble on our city’s streets. Our city’s solution to its budget problems is often to cut vital services for its poorest residents, and these services include agencies that can help young people who are most at-risk for turning to drugs or committing petty crimes, and then entering the criminal justice system.
    If the “crime summits” don’t address the city’s lack of social services for those who are most at-risk for becoming criminals, and they conclude that the “solution” is lots of cameras on our city streets, more police officers, and a 2 a.m. curfew, those solutions only look like the NOPD is “doing something”, but they don’t get to the many roots of the problem. Shutting down Charity Hospital and destroying the public housing projects are unacceptable “solutions” to the crime wave, because those acts punish our city’s most vulnerable residents, and don’t stop the crime wave. Neither does dismantling our city’s public school system, and leaving fewer schools for our city’s youngest residents to return to. Staking “Enough!” signs up and down South Claiborne Avenue won’t sway those who attack and kill our residents, that we’re ready to “do something” about the crime wave. Those signs are important, but they are also signs of desperation. Our city’s clergy are sending out a plea with these signs, but I don’t think the criminals in our city are listening, or really care. Our city needs to put resources, such as personnel and money, into building our social agencies back up, and making sure that those most at-risk for becoming criminals have alternatives to stealing, dealing drugs, and killing or injuring other people, and that their families and friends know that our city cares about them. Our city’s musicians have worked hard to put music and musical instruments back into our schools, and, for many of our young people, the arts are important ways of expressing their feelings about this city, its problems, and opportunities. Many of our potential artists use their artistic skills to comment on their friends’ and family members’ deaths. Many of our young writers have put books together about their neighborhoods. The arts, and their teachers, are one of many ways of helping to end crime, because they give creative channels for young men and women whose schools and homes may not have the resources available to keep these young people engaged and off the streets after their classes are over each day. I would also suggest funding for sports programs, and after-school clubs, in many of our public schools, and getting the Dryades YMCA up and running, if its programs haven’t been restarted. My point is that, beyond the numerous “crime summits”, our city leaders need to think of all the activities that help at-risk youth see a better life for themselves and their families, keep them from dropping out, and ensure that they have a good chance to complete their educations, graduate, and be prepared for either work or entering college. Our best solution to our city’s crime wave is to have viable work and education opportunities for our city’s most at-risk residents, and the resources, both human and financial, to make those opportunities available.

  23. pj Says:

    R.C. I-10 and Carrollton has always been a hot spot for police. It’s a sensitive area with the university right there. If you’ve been charged with something then, well, there you go.

    I am a supporter of the ACLU. I’ve been pulled over at random checkpoints in NOLA before the storm. I’ve always been sober, had insurance and current plates, brake tag. You better get right you law abiding citizens. NOPD has a new backup and that is the citizens of NOLA wanting the law upheld. ACLU’s influence across the country is waning, and I want to work for that, but you better get right with the law.

  24. Clint B Says:

    The speech was on target. I am concerned, many writers seem to convey danger in critizing the city’s leadership. I believe, “Public Service” needs to be “service to the Public”. Citizens should not be afraid of the leaders, and if they are, a recall of one or all is necessary. Citizens must understand, this is our community, what we have or don’t have is a direct reflection or our desires for the community we have. Let me know how I can help. Good luck!

  25. boxchain Says:

    Brilliant fucking speech today. I’ll miss the AC360…damn my rabbit ears!

  26. LatinTeacher Says:

    B-
    I saw you talking to Anderson Cooper just now. I am glad that you had the chance to speak for the people of New Orleans and against the injustices and wrongs that you see in the community. I am sad that you, as a non-native New Orleanian, have to be the person to make those comments. I am glad that you and your wife have chosen New Orleans as your home – it’s a richer place because of both of you. I am sad that you are enduring the insufferable and unpredictable in the potential rebirth of a great but broken city. I am glad that you are so well spoken and caring and involved in the rebuilding. I am sad that you are there and I am not. Thank you for everything you do for my home town and your home. No matter how hard or difficult it gets for you, know that all of your efforts will help those who decide to come back whenever they do or are able. I hope one day soon to be one of those who returns, but I am glad that you are speaking and acting and caring for me. You are a great man.
    Thanks for being you.
    Stephen

  27. Pam Folse Says:

    You were absolutely magnificent today. That is it. You were the man. By the way Mark and i are in the almost 300 (1727). We will not leave. This is my home, I will never leave, ever, ever , ever. I am pissed, but I will not leave.

  28. chrissieroux Says:

    I was hit hard by your speech today. I stood with my picture of Francis and tried not to weep so openly as to draw unwanted attention to myself.

    I also just watched you on 360 and felt as if, again, you voiced my thoughts exactly. Shame on us. Shame on Nagin and them, too, but we all need to shoulder our share of the responsibility. I’m glad you made a point of that.

    Thanks.

  29. scout prime Says:

    I captured the CNN interview and it is at First Draft. Feel free anyone to embed it at your sites.
    It is at YouTube also….. http://youtube.com/watch?v=X3FbAWho7Ac

  30. Adrastos Says:

    Brilliant speech, Bart.

  31. Doctor Daisy ┬╗ news from the march Says:

    [...] and BRox was there to voice the anger we all feel: (click here for video) Fueling our anger is the perception that our leaders do not share our fear and our sense of shame. And so today I want to say shame on you, Mayor Nagin, Superintendent Riley, District Attorney Jordan. You’ve really let us down. You have failed us. The criminal justice system and the government is broken. And I want to communicate to you the level of outrage that my friends and neighbors are feeling, because we don’t think you get it.   [...]

  32. Frank Schiavo Says:

    I was there today too. I didn’t think it was the time to come up to you and say hello, but I am going to say I was glad to see you there, speaking up and out for so many folks who feel the way that you do about this city and this time. Thank you very much for finding this strength in your time of grief.

  33. Lisa Says:

    Bart, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I can’t say it enough. I was moved to tears.

    Thank you.

  34. ashley Says:

    Bart for Mayor.

    Seriously.

  35. shoephone Says:

    Bart – I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now. In fact, I read it almost everyday – and I live in Seattle. I’m going to send the text of your speech around. I’ve alredy turned a bunch of folks on to your blog.

    Peace.

  36. Donnie McDaniel Says:

    Brilliant and very well done Bart. Bravo for you. I’m glad I made it there.

  37. HammHawk Says:

    Terrific job, B. I didn’t even know it was you (couldn’t see, and yours was the only speech I could hear) til Michael told me, but I should have known. I hope “they” were listening.

  38. DJ Pop+@rt Says:

    Bravo on the speech!

    It was good to be out in the streets with all you people yesterday. Thanks to the organizers and especially to the NOFD guy with the big red-splattered SOS flag. From mingling in the crowd, I learned a lot about what has been going on.

    What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?

  39. Rich Says:

    Excellent!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Cade Roux Says:

    I see my wife has already posted. You delivered the right message and well. I saw many many bloggers there as well as people of our acquaintance, and people from every aspect of our society were there.

    A couple things:

    1. Has anyone mentioned to Anderson Cooper that there are other places to film besides the Lower Ninth Ward which still, after 500 days, have had little or no progress.

    2. Has anyone figured out how many people were at the march, and what percentage of our returned population that represents? Seemed significant. Newscasters were saying thousands – I know it had to be at least 1000, maybe 2000 or more, but I’m not a good estimator. That can represent whole percentage points!!!

  41. liprap Says:

    It says it all.

    Bless you.

  42. Vicky Says:

    I’m so sorry that I missed you on Anderson Cooper. That was an excellent speech that you gave yesterday, and I’m very happy that you are still in NOLA to speak for us.

  43. Sophmom Says:

    I know you must be exhausted this morning. I’m just writing to say that you were wonderful on CNN. I also know that this doesn’t feel good right now, that you wish none of this had happened and you hadn’t had to speak and you hadn’t had to be on national television. We are all sorry that it came to this, and grieve for the losses, those tangible and those intangible, that brought you here, but we are glad that when the time came for someone to rail against the wrong, Bart and Karen were there to do so, for everyone. Peace, darlin’.

  44. Lisa Says:

    Wish I could have been there to hear your speech, just reading it brings tears to my eyes……I’m liking the 360 interview on my blog…that was great!

  45. humidhaney Says:

    It was an excellent speech. You had a woman standing next to me sobbing.

    Also, good job on CNNlast night.

    Thought you would like this shirt and campaign we are starting:

    http://dirtycoast.com/blog_post.php?id=114

  46. - Sally Says:

    Great speech, Bart! Also on Anderson Cooper. Made me proud to be from Mid-City, and strengthened my resolve to do more than fix up my own house. An inspiration to me and I’m sure many others.

  47. Lifestyles of the Easily Obsessed » NOLA Bloggers Should Run the City Says:

    [...] I’ve been reading so many NOLA blogs since Katrina. Some of these bloggers are amazing writers and people. They have been keeping the internet and the world informed on what is going on in NOLA since the very hours Katrina blew through. I have a separate blog roll for these incredible folks and I encourage everyone to check them out. I hope to be honored to meet some of them someday. They are so inspiring and committed to NOLA. One of these bloggers is Bart Everson, aka b.rox. I forget how I found his blog, it was one of the first NOLA blogs I found. It actually might have been thru a itunes podcast on people returning to NOLA. Bart was one of the speakers at the march in NOLA yesterday. His speech was so powerful! Anderson Cooper interviewed him on 360 last night! If you missed it, here it is! [...]

  48. former New Orleanian Says:

    Thank you so much for thinking and speaking about social conditions more broadly, even in the face of your grief.

  49. Lifestyles of the Easily Obsessed » Says:

    [...] I’ve been reading so many NOLA blogs since Katrina. Some of these bloggers are amazing writers and people. They have been keeping the internet and the world informed on what is going on in NOLA since the very hours Katrina blew through. I have a separate blog roll for these incredible folks and I encourage everyone to check them out. I hope to be honored to meet some of them someday. They are so inspiring and committed to NOLA. One of these bloggers is Bart Everson, aka b.rox. I forget how I found his blog, it was one of the first NOLA blogs I found. It actually might have been thru a itunes podcast on people returning to NOLA. Bart was one of the speakers at the march in NOLA yesterday. His speech was so powerful! Anderson Cooper interviewed him on 360 last night! If you missed it, here it is! [...]

  50. Karen Kern Says:

    Awesome speech yesterday, Bart. You were so great & equally as great on CNN last night. Thanks for all, Karen

  51. Tom Piazza Says:

    Bart — that was a great speech, as everyone else has said, and right on target. I am in Massachusetts for several weeks, but I was in NOLA in spirit all day yesterday. If anything can give us hope as a community, it is our sense of ourselves as a community, and your words helped to focus and articulate that sense. Your remarks on community policing were, I thought, especially valuable.

  52. Michael Haggerty Says:

    Thanks for your words.

  53. tiechick Says:

    Bart-

    Thank you for putting your thoughts and our collective feelings into a speech. New Orleans is worth fighting for. We must keep the heat on, particularly with Eddie Jordan’s completely incompetent DA’s office. We need to march there next and ask why specific murder victims have still not had their accused murderers go to trial.

    Long live MID CITY!

  54. Amy Says:

    speaking truth to power! i couldn’t make it physically but i was praying with you guys marching and Bart with all my heart thanks for speaking the truth. On behalf of my 2 sons growing up 11th generation New Orleanians, and all the children at our school bus stop exactly where Dick Shavers died, thank you. We are acting to save ourselves sure but its the next generation that will really benefit if we can do better by them, bring on structural/institutional changes . If anyone is interested in how we care for our young people, compare the recent infrastructure investments at the new jails at Tulane and Broad versus paint over mildew at John McDonough High School at Esplanade and Broad. The government-driven criminalization of young black people perpetuates basically a slave class, which in turn creates desperation. Once they have a record they can’t get scholarships and they have no tangible reasons for hope. I would include the Recovery School District in the list of those accountable. They took over our schools with the promise of something better but they have not delivered. The conditions in the schools are fueling personal level desperations and conflicts. For instance, Dick Shavers was killed by a John Mac “Downtown” student upset over territory with a student from Uptown. Well these young people have been through hell and back and they have not received counseling or ever been taught conflict resolution. The education leaders at the state level see no value in teaching conflict resolution and have actually resisted bring these types of healing programs into the state-run schools. Our schools are not being allowed to flourish and our people are not being allowed to heal, much less supported and encouraged. (My neighbor, totally not political, said ‘our own bureaucracies are our own worst enemies’) All we have is each other and our selves, and I am so proud of you and Karen and everybody for going out and representing. Maybe as important as the “leaders” hearing you is everybody walking together. We have to take our city in our hands and do it right so we can do right by each other. On a person to person level, that’s all we want and we know it more than ever. The leaders can feel that and stop working against us or they will be moved out the way. How do we react to the next murder? Well I know of some more justice actions planned in the near future which relate because our whole society is so unjust. Let’s continue to support each other and strengthen our local abilities to handle things for ourselves because WE CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER. Thanks again Bart for speaking, you have a true heart and you did a great job.

  55. Think New Orleans » An Army-McCarthy Moment Says:

    [...] Before he gave his speech, he posted it on his blog. Give Bart your comments on Bart’s blog post Speech. [...]

  56. Mid-City Neighborhood Organization » Blog Archive » Everson Speaks for Mid-City Says:

    [...] At Thursday’s march on New Orleans City Hall, organizers asked MCNO Communications Director Bart Everson to speak on behalf of the neighborhood. Herein, a copy of Bart’s speech, as posted on his own website, given before thousands. [...]

  57. Kris Says:

    Thank you for your speech yesterday. It voiced the raw emotions we felt. You did a fantastic job.

  58. Josette Says:

    Thank you for fighting for New Orleans, B. I’m doing what I can back in Indiana!

  59. Donald Olson Says:

    The city (Orleans Parish) has been declining for decades. I am a ninth generation New Orleanian, my daughter is a tenth. She is at Tulane Law School right now. My family dates from the Livaudais Plantation (Uptown New Orleans) and had the name Delachaise (one block from Louisiana Ave) from the laChaise section of Paris. My mother’s generation had to abandon the city and head for Jefferson because of the decline of the city, its services, and increased costs, and risks. Now, there is no need for Jefferson because the economy of N.O. is dead. There is not enough economy to maintain the suburbs. Who needs an expensive home in Metairie if there aren’t good jobs to support it? The city politics are inept and/or corrupt. Racism is rampant and the most racist are now the blacks. The governor treats everyone like a third grader and the legislature runs roughshod over her “leadership.” Our state continues to shrink relative to surrounding states; losing another U.S. representative, are we? Even Missiissippi looks good by comparison. Our experience in other cities while we were away following Katrina could not have been better. There are wonderful places out there to live: places with friendly people, good schools, lower taxes, less corruption, and most of all a booming economy. We are now looking for the city/town of our future. I remember when Houston and Atlanta looked just like N.O. Now they have four million people each and everyone who wants to work can have a good job. They have head offices of Fortune 500 companies, leaders who understand what makes for a healthy city and offer value for the taxes paid. We will miss New Orleans and its suburbs. We will rebuild a future, a better future, an easier life, and a less stressful retirement outside of New Orleans. Good luck in rebuilding our city, I am too old to wait 50 years to see the recovery…if it happens at all. Remember Nagin’s response to Garland’s question, “My plan is to not have a plan.” You will need that good luck. I hope you can maintain the rich culture of the area, but I think not. But, I will enjoy returning as a tourist, if you can get it together.

  60. judyb Says:

    It brought tears to my eyes.
    Thank you, Bart!!

  61. Catherine Says:

    Thank you for speaking for those of us who couldn’t be there. You did us proud…

  62. E.canthus Says:

    Great work Bart. I too attended the rally and was moved by all of its speakers. Yours in particular was articulate and forceful.

    I have lost 2 family members to murder here in New Orleans; it is an understatement to say that New Orleans suffers from neglect. That type of neglect is perfectly illustrated by Donald Olsen above. If you don’t have a stake in this game, if you’re not going to help, if all you can do is say that we’re doomed, if you wish for affirmation of your grass-is-greener mentality, then you came to the wrong chat board. Go Donald, go to whatever city you like. You provide nothing here with your pessimistic faux analysis. The fact that your family is a long time resident of New Orleans doesn’t mean that you care, it actually means that you share in the responsibility for what New Orleans is now (good and bad). If you choose to take no responsibility and offer no help then, by definition, you are already not a member of this community. I’m sorry to say that your post reveals a level of selfishness that the speakers admonished at the rally.

    The murder of one of my family members still traumatizes me 20 years later. It made me realize that I should live my life not in a better place, but to make the place I live better.

  63. Elizabeth Fox Says:

    I admire you for standing right in front of the Mayor and Police chief and letting them know, along with the whole world, how they’ve let us down. That took guts.

  64. Jerald L. White Says:

    Way to go. Thanks for telling the truth!

  65. Ruth Stone Says:

    Terrific speech. I was so proud to be a part of the march. It shows that New Orleans has a lot of good people and we do care.

  66. Termite Says:

    i thought you were amazing, you moved me.
    well done.

  67. Breny Says:

    You were amazing. When I saw you on AC I thought “Is that b.rox?” I had only seen stills of you and I wasn’t sure.

    I wish I could have been there to march with you all. My heart is in New Orleans and I’ll be there this weekend to support our team.

  68. words are not enough | live… from new orleans » Blog Archive » Enough IS Enough… Says:

    [...] This was one of my favorite quotes from yesterday’s rally. We have lots of problems here. Crime. Corruption. Trash. The city looks like a hurricane flooded it. (Who knew?) That’s why I go out and try to take pictures of the city in its beauty. Sometimes you just need a break from all the rubbish and filth everywhere (figuratively and literally). Anyway, yesterday’s rally was important. It’s frustrating, no doubt. The other night on Leno, I remember hearing Kiefer Sutherland refer to both Somalia and New Orleans in the same context- “It’s not like Somalia or New Orleans or anything.” I mean, what the crap? Anyway, the keynote speech yesterday at the rally came from Bart Everson, who blogs here. You can read his emotion filled speech here. Among the highlights: Fueling our anger is the perception that our leaders do not share our fear and our sense of shame. And so today I want to say shame on you, Mayor Nagin, Superintendent Riley, District Attorney Jordan. Youé─˘ve really let us down. You have failed us. The criminal justice system and the government is broken. And I want to communicate to you the level of outrage that my friends and neighbors are feeling, because we doné─˘t think you get it. Families that have lived in New Orleans for over 300 years are talking about leaving. People displaced by the flood are saying they are afraid to come back. That is the level of hopelessness and despair. Theyé─˘d like you to step up and just do your jobs é─ţ but they doné─˘t think you can. Theyé─˘d like you to step down and resign é─ţ but theyé─˘re afraid youé─˘d be replaced with equally incompetent people. Many of my neighbors believe that we need to see the federal government step in and literally take over New Orleans, or at least the criminal justice system. The feeling seems to be that even FEMA couldné─˘t screw up any worse than we have. At first I thought that was a joke. But it seems more possible every day, and thereé─˘s nothing funny about that. … [...]

  69. rickngentilly Says:

    one of the more sublime moments yesterday was when you said

    “And so today I want to say shame on you, Mayor Nagin, Superintendent Riley, District Attorney Jordan.”

    a cop gave two short blasts on his siren in solidarity.

  70. TM Says:

    I agree with Rick….a great moment! You spoke for all of us who are sick & tired & determined to make the 3 accountable. We want our city back!
    Sorry I missed meeting you in person but I did meet Xy.
    God bless
    TM

  71. Lee Says:

    B,

    This is amazing. Overnight it seems, you have become a symbol for New Orleanians. You have become the type of person I wish I was. I know you have been a part of the “media” industry for a long time now, but how did you feel while on AC 360? I saw the clip on youtube, and you looked nervous.

    I’ll wait til this cools down some to go in depth about the merchandise thing.

    Peace til then, and I hope to see you in the spring!

  72. jimlouis Says:

    Bart, from here in Virginia I’ve been seeing your name pop up in the national media–online, on TV, and today, this Saturday morning, you and your friend Holman are quoted in the Washington Post, which is not so unusual in itself except the story is in the sports page in a front page story about, ostensibly the playoff game tonight. The story however gives as many words to the march and you and Michael’s comments and the overall frustration of the city as it does to football. A lot of people would just as soon not hear about the continued problems of New Orleans but good for you and all the others who are involved for not making that an option. On the sports page for godsake, good work.

  73. Laureen Says:

    I am so proud of you, Bart. I am listening to Brian Denzer’s rebroadcast on WTUL now, I was in front of the podium listening to your delivery. I was pulling for you and you really did an amazing job. We all need to follow through on the points outlined by Silence is Violence and keep City Hall and Feds on the task. Transparency and access to crime stats, a new D.A., focus on education and sustainable economic development. Bravo, Bart.

  74. Orbis Quintus » Blog Archive » Bart Everson’s speech at the March Against Crime in New Orleans Says:

    [...] Bart Everson’s speech at the March Against Crime on Thursday is damned good. [...]

  75. Malcolm W. Says:

    Bart’s speech seems to have expressed what so many people in and from New Orleans are feeling. I’m glad that he (and Wendy King and Amy and others) got beyond our fury at the short-term need for better policing and criminal justice, to point to the long-term solutions, without which no amount of militarizing of the city will end crime (just look at Baghdad). We need decent public services: education, physical and mental health facilities, water and sewerage, a more efficient energy system (water still lin the gas lines!), trash collection (why not with recycling? Where did that go?), all the understaffed city offices, and housing (including public housing projects now sitting empty!), fire and police protection, street repair and signage, public transportation, etc., etc., etc. We must demand speedier and more efficient spending of federal assistance to meet these desperate needs, without which we have no jobs and no place for workers who do have jobs to live. Yes, let’s light a fire under Minor Nagin, or boot him out of office.

  76. Gordon Soderberg Says:

    I am in total support of the people of New Orleans. As a videogrpher and web blogger, I have been documenting what the people have been doing to rebuild their lives. I’ve also been on the receiving end of the so called, “police crack down on crime”. Just after the hurricanes, while providing food and water to survivors the police and national guard were very abrasive toward grassroots relief efforts.

    Over the last 17 months, no effort has been made by the city to provide safety for the people. It is just like a war zone and the federal government, city officials and police are acting like a occupying force rather than a public service.

  77. Jay Arena Says:

    Social Justice, Not more cops!

    Why Bart Everson and his é─˛anticrimeé─˘ fighters will not provide real security.

    After reading Bart Everson’s speech delivered at the January 11 rally at city hall, identifying the main demands he made, and placing it, furthermore, in the context in which it was delivered, I found it dangerous, and clearly not consistent with the values of the late social justice activist Helen Hill. I did not find the progressive content you saw. In addition, the fact that Everson isé─ţor at least had been– a leading activist in the Green party in New Orleans, and nationally, which claims to be a social justice, pro-environment, antiracist, peace group, the speech he delivered, the demands he made, and event he supported, should be of concern to the members and leaders of this group. Does Everson speak for the Greens? Do they share his sentiments?

    I agree with Malcolm, that reopening and expanding public services is key for creating real security. But, as I will show in a review of Eversoné─˘s central demands, this is not what he was advocating, but rather more repression. His message was consistent with the overall character, and tenor of this right wing, white, middle class dominated, march.

    If we really want security we should not be rallying behind Everson and others with their right wing é─˛anti-crimeé─˘ rallies, but joining with the anti-racist, working class social movements in this city, such as the struggle to reopen public housing. Join us on MLK day in front of the St Bernard, to demand real justice and security, not more cops, more surveillance cameras, more police roadblocks, and the, é─˛securityé─˘ of emerging racist police state that Everson and his gang are pushing

    The text of the speech can be accessed at:

    http://b.rox.com/archives/2007/01/11/speech/

    1. Everson stated, in his remarks before the some 4,000 people assembled, that the cityé─˘s increased crime/security problem had nothing to do with Katrina:

    é─˙This is not a new problem. Ité─˘s not a Katrina problem. Katrina just provided a momentary interruption. This wave of violent crime has been on the rise for years and it had left us feeling sad and scared and very, very angry.é─¨

    This works to cover the way that the inadequate response, indeed criminal response, of, primarily, the federal government, has created extreme suffering for people, and contributed greatly to the security problems.

    2. His failure to not connect the security problems to Katrina is consistent with him totally letting off the hook the Bush administration, and only focusing on local officials:

    é─˙And so today I want to say shame on you, Mayor Nagin, Superintendent Riley, District Attorney Jordan. Youé─˘ve really let us down. You have failed us. The criminal justice system and the government is broken.é─¨

    While local officials should be criticized, Everson attacks them for the wrong reasons. Does he oppose Naginé─˘s support for demolishing public housing? Or does he é─˛shameé─˘ DA Eddie Jordan for his willingness to prosecute the Danziger 7 murdering cops who brazenly shot and killed two civiliansé─ţwhich many believe was just the tip of the iceberg of the killings NOPD and other é─˛securityé─˘ forces carried out in the aftermath of katrina?
    Clearly many at the march were angry at Jordan for his attempts to prosecute these murders. Various placards attacked Jordan for these prosecutions of é─˛our policeé─˘. Eversoné─˘s speech led no one to believe that he held a different position.

    3. Everson, in his speech, called for greater police penetration of the community, and more snitches, in the name of community policing:

    é─˛Leaders, you need to do something that many of us think you cané─˘t do. You need to be honest. You need to admit that what youé─˘re doing isné─˘t working, and plan a return to true community policingé─ÂOf course to do community policing we will need more police, and that means better pay,..é─˘

    Thats Eversoné─˘s solution: more cops, and more resources for cops, and more snitches. We now have more cops per capita than any where in the country, and the highest incarceration rate. He wants to drive it higher.

    4. Further underscoring Everoné─˘s emphasis on more repression, he bellowed before the overwhelmingly white middle class crowd, in an city that had been 70% African Americans before the storm that:

    é─˛We must have a higher felony conviction rate.é─˘

    5. He decried the fact that many peopleé─ţsome who have family roots dating back 300 years in the cityé─ţand are thinking about leaving New Orleans. Yet he made no mention of the fact about the some 250,000 people doné─˘t have that optioné─ţbecause they have yet to return to the city, over a year since they were forced out!!! Approximately 80% are African Americans, many of whom can also trace their roots back decades. He made no mention of actions, like reopening public housing, that would help people return, and create an important form of securityé─ţthat of housing.

    As an addendum he interjected that:

    é─˙We know that law enforcement alone cané─˘t solve these problems. We need long-term solutions too. We must have better schools. We must have an economy beyond tourism. We must pay workers a living wage. We must fight racism and classismé─¨

    Yet, he has no real specifics hereé─ţdoes he call for the reopening of public housing? Charity hospital? Does better schools mean private charter schools? Does he support rehiring of the fired teachers and the reinstatement their union contract?

    Clearly, Everson remarks and role was consistent with the overall message of the event –more repression and keep poor African Americans in line. That sentiment was clearly reflected in the placard that called for the creation of é─˛green zoneé─˘ in New Orleans, just like in Baghdad.

    If you really want security, we need, as some counter protestors tried to yell amid the cacophony of reactionary voices:

    Social justice, not more cops!!!!

    If you support that call, I encourage you to concretely support this agenda by coming out to the St Bernard housing development on MLK day to support resident right to clean up and return to their homes.

    MLK Day
    Monday, January 15
    10 AM
    3800 block of St. Bernard Ave

    Jay Arena

  78. The G Bitch Spot » We Do So Care! Says:

    [...] Update: See b.rox for links to pictures and other media and Indymedia for the audio of the event and individual speeches. [...]

  79. HammHawk Says:

    Bart, I had no idea you were such a right-wing racist. Good thing Arena’s here to point this out to us.

  80. Buck Provosty Says:

    Great speech. Let’s hope the mayor takes your comments to heart and does something to improve the crime situation in New Orleans.

  81. Anonymous Says:

    For those of you who aren’t aware, a Postcard Campaign that has been initiated by Helen’s sister-in-law. Please go to helenhill.org for more details. Thank you…

  82. One Year: You're Not Crazy... : words are not enough | live… from new orleans Says:

    [...] So at least some of us care (even though, for the record, I missed the rally). There was a moving speech given that day. And it didn’t come out of the mouth of Willie [...]

  83. Katy Reckdahl Says:

    I’m doing a story about the one-year anniversary of the crime watch. Could you give me a call at (w) 826-3396?

    Thanks.

    Katy Reckdahl
    Times-Picayune

  84. b.rox » Blog Archive » One Year Later Says:

    [...] A year ago I gave a speech. [...]

  85. Doctor Daisy » CCCC 2008| Blogging New Orleans: Locals Creating Reality Online Says:

    [...] PERSUADE: a powerful speech and then the speaker’s reflection 1 year later, still outraged at the lack of change when it [...]

  86. b.rox » Blog Archive » Confessions of a Media Whore Says:

    [...] if the producers would soon be looking at video of that massive rally at City Hall. Of course, I spoke at that rally, and lots of people were [...]

  87. b.rox » Blog Archive » Not Forgotten Says:

    [...] I was prepared to hear Nakita’s speech at the rally, since I’d heard they were going to use archival footage of her alone. Then, a strange technical glitch occurred. We think it was due to the DVR kicking in to record another program. Anyway, I didn’t see the last 60-90 seconds of the program. That was highly ironic, because I’ve since heard that I got the last word. [...]

  88. The winter of our discontent « Back Of Town Says:

    [...] moment quite well and I particularly enjoyed their use of archival news clips from WWL-TV including Bart Everson’s impassioned speech that applied the S-word to the whole sorry situation: SHAME. I never met Helen Hill so Bart was my [...]

  89. b.rox » Archive » Limited Says:

    [...] that last time I expressed a fear of speaking in public. It was in early 2007. A few days later, I spoke to a crowd of thousands. It was a terrible moment, one which I sincerely wish had never transpired, [...]

  90. Janiebt Says:

    Bravo, Bart. I just heard your speech for the first time tonight (8/07/2012).
    Very moved and it brought tears to my eyes. Maybe someday we can talk about this subject.
    Thanks.

    janie

  91. Janiebt Says:

    Unable to find the video at this link: http://www.first-draft.com/2007/01/nola_blogger_ed.html

    It says video has been removed by user.

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