Tag Archives: New Orleans

Big Freedia is large.

Remember that movie where Rick Moranis played a feckless scientist who accidentally radiated his son and turned him into a gigantic, pants shitting crybaby terrorizing Las Vegas? This Big Freedia video is a little bit like that but way better–all the pros of overgrown people (which primarily involve them doing headstands and letting cars pass between their legs) without any of the cons.

Representing New Orleans and Bounce music proper, the self-proclaimed “queen diva” is depicted larger than life in this new video for her single “Ya’ll Get Back Now”. Dancers on top of buildings! on bridges! floating through space! So, so good.

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Further evidence of police misconduct during Eris Parade in New Orleans.

The above video clearly illustrates misconduct by the NOPD during the Eris Parade this past Sunday.

A cameraman is pepper-sprayed directly in the face, as is a young man who is communicating to an officer, “I’m trying to make sure my friend is ok.”

A police officer sprays liberally into a crowd of costumed paraders. Again, paraders. Not protesters.

Additionally, bad has been turning into worse in the DIY community with the forced closure of The Iron Rail and Plan B, two established non-profits sharing a building in the Marigny. The Iron Rail, a resource center focused on printed media, and Plan B, a bicycle co-operative, are both important assets to  the city and contribute significantly to the vibrancy as well as to the vitality of New Orleans. More than just mere coincidence, the closing of these cultural establishments appears to be a direct attack on the community organizations and it’s members believed to be affiliated with the events at the Eris Parade.

Krewe of Eris met with police aggression, arrests during parade in New Orleans.

 

For those unfamiliar with  Krewe of Eris, it’s one of several unofficial, unsanctioned parades occurring during Carnival season in New Orleans. While typically many things to many different people, the Eris parade is undoubtedly an exuberant, unrestrained exhibition and celebration of creativity and individual expression.

Open to all, the Krewe of Eris has no membership requirements, no dues to be paid. Rolling for it’s seventh year this past Sunday, the parade traveled through areas of the Bywater, Marigny, and French Quarter in the city of New Orleans. As the procession of costumed paraders entered the French Quarter,  the crowd was met with increased police hostility. The situation escalated as Eris continued on its march, resulting in members of the New Orleans Police Department brandishing batons, pepper-spraying large groups of people, and arresting at least a dozen individuals believed to be affiliated with the parade.

For a city that prides itself on its proficiency at controlling crowds, the New Orleans Police Department publicly failed at handling this event in a professional manner, utilizing violence and random arrests in lieu of the “crowd control strategies and techniques” they are supposedly equipped with.

The front page story on this incident from The Times Picayune can be read here. The excerpts below are from the New Orleans Independent Media website:

Sunday, March 6, 2011: Krewe of Eris parade attacked by NOPD

“The parade then moved forward, finally, following a course that took it into the French Quarter. We didn’t get far; it was clear the Eighth District didn’t want us there. Some neighborhoods are okay to parade in, and some, apparently, are not. The response to Eris entering the Quarter was swift and markedly more aggressive. A helicopter swept us with its spotlight– wait, does NOPD have a helicopter now? There was definitely one present. Police cars blocked off two sides of every intersection, directing the parade into two right turns: up one block and then directly back out towards Esplanade. All the cars at the intersections had their sirens going at ear-splitting volumes, as did the now-multiple cars behind us, which accelerated and roared their engines. Many paraders broke into a trot and then an unnerved run. Some crowded onto the sidewalks.”  Read more: Arrested at the Eris Parade

Also, a repost from nolaslate: “I ran back out the door and ran into a man who had been with Eris who told me that the cops had tried to blockade them at Esplanade, then Franklin, now here at Port. When I walked the half block to the intersection I saw cop cars everywhere, cops with a kid face down on the ground and all had their batons out and their attitudes in evidence. The police were very clearly spoiling for a fight.” Read More: Permitting Culture Crimes

 

“Sissy Bounce” in New Orleans

Apparently, this shit is totally blowing up. I’d never heard of it until moving to New Orleans where, in my neighborhood at least, its completley unavoidable. Literally, Sissy Noby performed in front of my house for my neighbors sweet-sixteen party. Aside from that, it’s being played on the radio, out of peoples’ cars, and at every block party of the summer. In New Orleans, it’s pretty hard to miss. It’s also been around for years.

Now, national media is drawing some attention to the wonder that is New Orleans’ bounce music. The New York Times recently did an article on bounce music in New Orleans, specifically investigating “sissy bounce”, a sort of inadvertent subgenre of the music primarily performed by gay or transgender singers. One interesting point throughout the piece points to  the sexual empowerment provided to females during bounce events, the lyrical content being more suitable for women to identify with and the role of the gay or transgender performers being comforting to many women participating in the sets.

The music in itself is kind of phenomenal and the live sets something to behold. It’s versatility, like Big Freeida performing at Chaos in Tejas, is undeniable. One element of the music that is noteworthy is it’s total lack of marketability or, at least, the reluctance of major labels to embrace this music as commercially viable. Perhaps this will change with the continued exposure of some the New Orleans artists who have been doing this for a while now.