A Look Back at a Powerful Moment in New Orleans’s History

By Orissa Arend
Foreword by Charles E. Jones
Introduction by Curtis J. Austin

Showdown in Desire portrays the Black Panther Party in New Orleans in 1970, a year that included a shootout with the police on Piety Street, the creation of survival programs, and the daylong standoff between the Panthers and the police in the Desire housing development. Through interviews with Malik Rahim, the Panther; Robert H. King, Panther and member of the Angola 3; Larry Preston Williams, the black policeman; Moon Landrieu, the mayor; Henry Faggen, the Desire resident; Robert Glass, the white lawyer; Jerome LeDoux, the black priest; William Barnwell, the white priest; and many others, Orissa Arend tells a nuanced story that unfolds amid guns, tear gas, desperate poverty, oppression, and inflammatory rhetoric to capture the palpable spirit of rebellion, resistance, and revolution of an incendiary summer in New Orleans.

Monday, February 16, 2009

It’s Not Just a Book

A riveting narrative of diverse viewpoints, Showdown in Desire is a dozen-times-told tale. And it is a living history, an effort by people from all sides of the original confrontation to learn from that shared history. Author Orissa Arend facilitates that effort, just as she facilitated the coming together of this book—by gathering people together and listening.

The publication of this book is cause for celebration in and of itself. But that isn’t the end of the story. Upon its release, Showdown in Desire will be the impetus of a series of readings and discussions, culminating in two community forums to be held at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center on Wednesday, May 20 And Wednesday, June 3. Both forums will feature key players of the showdown and standoff between the Black panthers and the mostly white police force and city leaders and the citizens of the Desire Housing Project in New Orleans in 1970.

Watch this site for event announcements, related information--and a sneak preview of photos from the book.

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