What’s Going On

I have been back and forth on Navarre NextDoor with a neighbor from Parkview about the Nolatoya Recall of mayor Latoya Cantrell in New Orleans. The current topic is Nolatoya’s suit to force a voter purge. Reviewing the roles is a necessary function that occurs, by Louisiana law, and must be completed by June 30 in an election year. This is routine, uniform and non-discriminatory as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 prescribes.

Suing to get a snap voter role purge to benefit one party is one reason why the Federal government enacted laws likethe National Voter Registration Act to try to prevent that. What the Nolatoya lawsuit suggests is patently illegal. But, heh, this is Louisiana. Anything could happen.

But that’s not what this this is about. The person I been having this exchange with is someone I remember well from a particular meeting of the Mid-City Recovery Planning Group after the Federal Flood, to consider endorsing The Preserves Apartments. I was the housing chair of the group, and had been working on several angles for work-force housing: people who didn’t own insured homes with clear title or own any home of their own.

I don’t remember the developer’s name, but he came recommended by the architect assigned to assist our group. He said the New York Housing Authority had only good things to say about him, and they never say anything nice about anybody. So I did some research and determined they were in fact a group that did quality developments for working class people.

Trying to get this vaguely anarcho-syndical group to endorse this project required a long, spirited meeting And I remember this person on NextDoor from that night 17 years ago. I don’t know if she was the organizer of the jeering section, or just chose to be front and center in it. They were on the left as I recall.

Everyone from that group stood up to say this would be Section 8 Housing , and not welcome in the neighborhood. They even shouted Section 8 occasionally. That is a Federal assisted housing program that subsidizes rent for the working poor. If you’re familiar with it because there are poor people where you live, unless you are in some deep hollow in Appalachia or in western North Dakota, I think you know who the poor people often are. 

The were shouting “Section 8” like a white child fifty years or more years ago saying, “Nigger, Nigger,”Nigger” three times quietly, then basking in their naughtiness*. Everyone knew what they meant. In spite of them, I won that night and the recommendation letter from the group was delivered and the complex was built. It was not the Algiers Projects reborn. I believe there are a lot of Xavier students there. They drive nicer cars than I do.

The woman on NextDoor is very vocal in support of the Nolatya recall, and very critical when I say things like the above, which I headlined “If you can’t win by the rules, change the rules”. Based on her history, I think she is the poster child for the deep racial animus boiling under the recall. 

I know it’s not just white Republicans signing it, but that’s who’s paying for it.

One guy in particular, Richard D. Farrell has provided over 95% of the money. He is a generous GOP donor on the Fed level and he spreads his money around locally. That’s just good business. One of the recipients of his largesse is Helena Moreno. I’ve got nothing against here. She’s probably make a very competent mayor, But it’s not as if Mr. Farrell is acting out of some disinterested, altruistic senses of civic duty. No one with that kind of money to throw around does that. He’s got an interest in what comes next.

But the racial animus is palpable here. It pulses on my part of NextDoor which sadly includes old Metairie Road, what I call Near Kenner (from the 17th Street Canal to Bonnabel), Lakeview, the Private Lakeshore Drive Property Owners Association, Parkview and Fauborg St. John. In fairness, it also dips into Mid-City south of Carrollton. And that animus is on full display. The so called leaders are just window dressing, and the addition of Mad Martha Huckaby–tossed out of a local Republican women’s group for being just a little too TrumpyQ- did nothing to improve them 

It doesn’t  matter how many Black people sign the recall petition. It is being carried along on a very angry current, the appropriate  response to the city in her second term, (joined by those who think Covid is just a cold, who also hated her first).  But it is surfing  on a powerful current of racial animus.

I don’t think they’ve considered what they are trying to unleash.

The Trumplicans have been salivating after a real good lynching of one of those degenerate and corrupted Black Urban Mayors (henceforth, BUM)  that s every loyal Fox viewer will tell you are the root of all evil in America. Even more than Biden. And they have a trophy in their sights. At the core of the recall is a very angry mob. I’m not old enough to remember when Ruby Bridges walked into William Frantz Elementary School in 1960 escorted by armed Federal marshals, but I’ve seen the videos. And I took my first swimming lessons at Pontchartrain Beach because all the public pools were closed.

That is just the sort of mob  brewing, and the people funding them are out for blood. They need a BUM  to crucify upon a Cross of Red . And arrogant Cantrell has walked right into it. Somewhere sticks are soaking in pitch, and forks are being sharpened. I think it will be a very ugly eight months after the petition is signed until the vote comes on the regular election ballot this November, especially when the unregulated and unreported dark money starts to flow in to boost their ugly meme about BUMs

This could get very ugly very fast, and unlike 1960 both sides are packing, hood and housewife alike.

I don’t see how this plays out that is not ugly and racist. I haven’t seen anything for years on the political horizon to make me optimistic. The recall is a GOP front op, and I’m not signing it. How I vote in November will depend on whether the mayor is shocked into a serious course correction if the petition is approved, and just how ugly the campaign for it will be.

  • * I did, this I confess. My grandfather referred to his employers as His Niggers, and my grandmother had the most genteel way of saying,”Nigra.” I also know several once- thought clever variations of the Hersey’s Chocolate jingle. Hello, my name is Mark and I am a Racist, and grateful every new day by the grace of Somebody I am not anymore. For that day. It’s been so long I may have laid up enough gold coins in heaven to compensate. None of which the subject of this screed can say.
  • ** WordPress spell checker doesn’t know how to spell lynchings. How quaint.