Friday, January 05, 2007

More Endymion Pandering

Some City Council members just won't let this issue die. And I suppose that would be a good thing... if they were actually interested in making a real fight of it instead of just making a lot of empty bluster.

All told, the Endymion controversy is pretty typical of post-K New Orleans leadership. NOPD, with the backing of the Mayor's office, have decided to take advantage of the situation to shit all over the city's cultural heritage. In much the same way that the city has tried to shut down neighborhood second-line parades, they are here looking to complete the regrettable streamlining of Carnival parade routes. The attitude, which I can only assume emanates from the top downward, is.. typically cavalier. This is not about safety. The "kid dragged into an abandoned building" scenario the mayor and the chief keep throwing out there is a bizarre fantasy scare tactic of the lamest order. Nor is this about the status of the neighborhood. Mid-City is, in fact, the fastest-recovering of all the flooded areas to this date. No, the only issue is NOPD simply doesn't want to deal with it.
Police Sgt. Michael LeVasseur, representing Riley, told the council that in addition to security concerns, the main reason Riley does not want to have parades on two routes is logistics, such as the difficulty of moving hundreds of heavy barricades to the Mid-City route.
Keep in mind, two separate parade routes, historically speaking, amounts to giving the cops a major break. Traditionally, parading organizations, many of which were birthed as neighborhood organizations, have employed several varied routes. Often two or more parades would travel different routes (GASP) on the same date. As recently as 15 years ago I can remember at least five routes in action.. and much more variation on how the "main" Uptown and Mid-City Routes were used. It's a shame the city leaders are so eager to abdicate their responsibility to preserve our unique cultural traditions.

Personally, since I live Uptown, I'd prefer to see Endymion back in Mid-City if, for no other reason, than to avoid the uniquely rude and territorial crowd of young white suburban types it tends to draw. The ladder is the bane of my Carnival existence and Endymion fans bring them out in force. But that's not all they bring. Endymion crowds usually begin to gather along the parade route one or two days before the actual parade. The squatters use ladders, spray paint and rope to claim and defend a plot of real estate on the neutral ground for themselves and their young white larvae. Woe to the parade goer who wishes to travel from one side of the street to the other by crossing the sovereign territory of the Endymion soccer mom. He will be treated to all manner of dirty looks and crude lectures about respecting her roped off piece of public property. This ridiculous sociopathic inability to comprehend the nature of a public event does not belong in Mardi Gras. Unfortunately it has established itself as standard behavior among the yuppies who throng for Endymion. And damn Warren Riley for trying to force that shit uptown.

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