Monday, December 15, 2014

It was probably bad for tourism, you know

Rudy Lombard, civil rights activist and former mayoral candidate, dies at 75

He was arrested his senior year during a sit-in at the McCrory’s dime store on Canal Street on Sept. 17, 1960, which was organized by the local chapter of CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality.

Lombard, who was the senior class president at Xavier and a national vice president of CORE, was joined at the whites-only lunch counter by Lanny Goldfinch, a white Tulane University student, plus Cecil Carter Jr. and the late Oretha Castle Haley, both of whom were black.

The group, known as the “CORE Four,” refused orders to leave and were arrested.

The Supreme Court, which reviewed the case even though New Orleans had no official segregation ordinances for stores, tossed out their criminal mischief arrests in 1963 in the case of Lombard v. Louisiana.

Days before the arrests, Mayor Chep Morrison had made a pro-segregation statement that banned such protests.

“I have today directed the superintendent of police that no additional sit-in demonstrations ... will be permitted ... regardless of the avowed purpose or intent of the participants,” Morrison said in a statement released Sept. 13, 1960, following a similar sit-in at a nearby Woolworth store. “It is my determination that the community interest, the public safety and the economic welfare of this city require that such demonstrations cease and that henceforth they be prohibited by the police department.”

“These convictions, commanded as they were by the voice of the state directing segregated service at the restaurant, cannot stand,” Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in the court’s decision.
You can just hear the important people talking about how bad such disruptions might be for the city's image and brand or whatever.  It doesn't really take much imagination.  A few weeks ago a protest against police brutality somewhat distracted the presentation of a corporate-sponsored light show at Gallier Hall.  You don't have to go too far into the comments to that story before you find,
This is an embarrassment for our city as many tourists had to leave their cabs to walk to their locations.  Then to view cops with he hands in their pockets doing nothing for over an hour as well. I would like to know why the cops did nothing as they blocked traffic by laying in the street last night.  Is this how they will react going forward?
According to the story, one onlooker suggested that the police shoot the protesters.   Presumably this would have been helpful to the tourists as well.  

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