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Fighting Mass Evictions in New Orleans (1/17)


Fighting Evictions in New Orleans

Hundreds of people have been evicted everyday from their houses in New Orleans. Investors and developers are rushing to take advantage of the crisis, overshadowed by a criminal negligence by the Bush Adminstration.

Come hear Jeremy Prickett, an organizer with Labor's Militant Voice, speak about the work he has been doing in New Orleans fighting evictions through direct actions, and how people here in Santa Cruz can help these efforts.

Jan 17, Tuesday 8pm, at the Women Center, UCSC.
Hosted by the Labor Film Collective.

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Indian Chief Al and Skeleton Chief Al

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This entry was posted on Saturday, December 17th, 2005.

Indian Chief Al and Skeleton Chief Al

New Orleans, LA

A couple days ago, I wanted to write about where direction action casework fits into an eviction crisis of this scale. I was trying to set up the story of “Skeleton Chief� Al Morris. Al is a lifelong resident of the Treme neighborhood. This is where we organized the N.O. H.E.A.T. coalition meeting where Sonia spoke so well. (That monologue is featured over the top of Flux’s video I linked to a couple entries ago. Attentive readers may also have noticed the footage Emma and I shot of Diane, the day we drove her home from Wal-Mart to salvage her possessions.)

Chief Al was also the man we were looking for at that second line parade in the Treme. It’s not so easy to coordinate a direct action case with someone who had his cell phone stolen. Meeting the chief for the first time was a funny episode all by itself…

One of the volunteers at the Algiers medical clinic got arrested doing a “cop-watch�. There was a press conference at Orleans Parish Prison. One of the speakers was a tall, thin African-American named Chief Al Dusset who had been recently brutalized and arrested by NOPD. I had been tipped off several days earlier by a local activist interested in working on the eviction issue that his neighbor was put out illegally and robbed by the landlord’s men.

I started talking to Chief Al Dusset after the press conference about it. He was polite, but eventually stopped me: “I hear you, but I didn’t get evicted.� I showed him my notebook. He studied the address for a moment. “You’re talking about Skeleton Chief Al. He stays in the Treme. I’ll take you up to the Backstreet (Cultural Museum), he’s usually around there.�

I followed the chief of Uptown Mardis Gras Indians up into the Treme. He pulled up at the Backstreet, and sure enough, there was his counterpart sitting with a half dozen friends on the porch. Chief Al Dusset hugged Chief Al Morris, introduced me as someone working with Malik who was here to see about helping him with the eviction thing.

That’s how I met Al Morris, First Chief of Northside Skull Bone Gang.



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