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