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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Skeletons and Indians

New Orleans filmmaker Royce Osborn and Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Tootie Montana’s last Mardi Gras, 2005. Montana and his devoted wife Joyce attended St. Augustine Church. He died June 27, 2005, of a heart attack as he was lambasting the police at a city council meeting for a recent disruption of Indian ceremonies. The chiefs, spy boys, flag boys, and queens of the assembled tribes launched into a somber rendition of “Indian Red,” a ceremonial Mardi Gras Indian song. He was eighty-two. (Gambit Weekly, July 5, 2005).

Photograph by Pat Jolly. Donated to the author’s archives by Royce Osborn.

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