An Archive of Jacob Appelbaum’s Post-Katrina weblog

A local block party (Quote of the day)

Posted in algiers,Katrina,neworleans,party by jacob on September 16, 2005

All night people have been talking about a local block party.

“It’s just FOUR blocks away!”
“What about the curfew?”

Surely enough I decided that even though it might be safe to get there it’s almost certainly not going to be a fun walk home. Lets just assume that the party was full of people I didn’t clash with, I can’t imagine walking home alone would be safe. The curfew has been extended to 21:00 hours I’ve been told. Someone even reassured me by telling me that the local military from the 1st cav had no ammo in their guns! If that’s the truth I’d trust it for the person and only the person that shows me an open empty chamber as well as an empty clip. No one confirmed this but apparently that’s the company line for the 1st cav, no live ammo at all.

Still I was unconvinced. Surely I do things that might be a little risky but walking four blocks to a party in the dark under curfew in what is essentially a military police zone, that’s just crazy.

People just started returning from the party and it turns out that it was probably for the best. The vigilantes that people had been talking about, the white ones that are openly racist and violent were the ones throwing the party. Doh! Not a good party for the people in this community to attend.

As it just so happens I heard a story about a fight. An Irishman was drinking and somehow ended up ripping his shirt off to fight with someone. The 1st cav moved to the other side of the party and when asked if anyone from the 1st cav would break up the fight they said:

“We are the US military, we invade foreign countries. We don’t break up bar fights.”

And so it goes.


23 Responses to 'A local block party (Quote of the day)'

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  1. Glenn Fincher said,

    It is probably quite true that the soldiiers do not have clips inserted in their weapons. They will have them readily available, but… it isn’t in the interest of the overall mission to give permission to fire indiscriminently to the mostly enlisted men that are doing this grunt work. Kind of like the early days after 9/11 – the “armed” National Guard units at the airports were also not “locked & loaded” – we wouldn’t want a private opening fire in a crowded airport!

  2. Polimom said,


    What block party was this? Was it on the 16th (the date you published this blog entry)?

    I am bothered immensely by your post… I blogged all the way through the immediate Katrina aftermath, and so far as I know, none of the people in Algiers with whom I was in close contact had racial issues. The thought disturbs me badly.



  3. Gareth said,


    You clearly don’t know this neighborhood, but then again you haven’t been a neighbor very long. Try browsing Polimom’s web site to learn a bit more about us:

    The Block Party:

    “Lets just assume that the party was full of people I didn’t clash with…? The trouble with assuming is that almost invariably an “ass? comes before the “umption?.

    Go to , click on the Algiers forum and use “block Party? in the search function. Read two posts describing the event and why it was held. You will also find some photographs here…

    Doesn’t exactly convey the image you put forth. Open racism? Do you really think Pastor Stan and The Church of Christ would associate such people?

    You will see that the military were not carrying loaded weapons at the party, their weapons were stowed away and guarded. Standing orders for the military here are to respond only if law enforcement becomes overwhelmed. Their presence is intended as a visual deterrent. Quite effective, they made you think twice.

    The environment before the military arrived is beyond the grasp of decent human beings. First responders living on The Point can shed some light if you ask them, though you will probably find some reluctance because their experiences were so harrowing. Whilst you feel anxious living in a militarized zone, understandably so, those of us that survived the nightmare feel quite the opposite. Be that as it may, there is one undeniable fact for you to consider despite any misgivings: you would not be here helping the relief effort if not for these soldiers. Don’t you just hate a paradox.

    Jacob, you should take time to review the footage taken in the aftermath of Katrina. What stands out but largely overlooked, is the host of multi-colored faces risking their lives to rescue each other on an unprecedented scale. It was no different on Algiers Point. Yet the antagonists and divisionists point fingers and level accusations. On one extreme we are touted as ‘mighty whitey’ by neo fascist whacko’s, and on the other we are labeled as ‘openly (white) racist vigilantes’… perhaps then we should reconsider The Good Samaritan as a staff-wielding, white sheet wearing desert thug?…I don’t know, the ignorance if not for being so destructive is quite spectacular.

    …So, the Point threw a block party to thank the soldiers and The Church of Christ volunteers; we stayed out past our bedtime; a drunken Irishman started an altercation. Pretty darn controversial Jacob.


  4. Gareth said,

    ….why did you block my reply to your post? Censorship???


  5. jacob said,

    Gareth, it was moderated as spam because of the length and I didn’t notice it. I get lots of spam because of the amount of traffic this blog gets. I fixed it and now everyone can read it.

    My reply is simple, what I wrote still stands. If you want to put good guy badges on your volunteers by saying they’re with the Church of Christ you’re not going to convince me. I don’t care who they were with. I know only of them from people I trust. I felt it wasn’t a bright idea to go walking around Algiers at night and go to a party with people I didn’t know. Seemed like a bad idea then and it still does.

    Most of your comment misses the point entirely. I don’t need to be in the area for year to have locals tell me about racism and then to see it first hand. That takes five minutes in NOLA. Surely you jest if you think that’s not a problem.

    My value judgment about the quality of your party go-ers wasn’t so wrong after all. One of them started a fight and I’m glad I wasn’t around for it. I’ve seen enough fighting and at the time, I would have likely tried to break it up. It doesn’t matter if it’s my job or a job for someone else, sometimes you have to step up to the plate when no one else will. I’d expect the 1st cav to do that.

    In no place did I say anything about disliking the military and wishing they’d go home. I think the military is much better than the local police and pretty much everyone I know agreed. That’s not a perfect statistic but I had my own personal experience with the NOLA police to back it up. There’s no paradox there, so please don’t try to paint the issue as an anti-military issue. It’s not.

    Most of this is neither here nor there. I just found it humorous that they “don’t break up bar fights.”

  6. Polimom said,

    I followed the thread back here from webstats, and saw more dialogue. I should mention that the block party references are in the forums at, rather than on the blog. Specifically, here:

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