Friday, October 7, 2011


Hundreds of people, young and old, black and white, marched with signs held high and slogans spewing. It was a disjointed group: upbeat, angry, courteous, displeased, but united in unhappiness with the current economic and political climate. If there was a singular message shared among the masses, it centered on a simple idea: The status quo has got to go.

The "Occupy NOLA" protest and march was one of dozens of social actions held recently across the country, offshoots of a larger ongoing demonstration on Wall Street in New York City.
The marchers at Lafayette Square

Images from Occupy NOLA on Facebook.

Looks great doesn't it? I wish we had been there. Grandpère and I went to New Orleans yesterday, but we did not arrive at Lafayette Square until 3:00PM. By then the gathering at Lafayette Square in front of the Federal Building was over, and the group had moved on to Duncan Plaza in front of City Hall...the story of my life. The rally at Lafayette Square was tentatively scheduled to begin between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon when the marchers arrived. Alas, the march went faster than was expected, and the marchers arrived at the square at around 1:00PM.

Once we left home, we had no further access to the internet, what with being technologically old-timey and all. The details of the march were, no doubt, Tweeted and Facebooked, but we had no connection.

At Lafayette Square, we ran into a couple of stray marchers, and we decided to share a cab to Duncan Plaza, which was only about a mile away, but still.... When we arrived at Duncan Plaza, there were around 150 people left of the crowd, mostly spread out on the grass around the plaza.

A General Assembly of Occupy NOLA was held in Duncan Plaza later yesterday evening, and occupiers who were camping out spent the night in the plaza.

Below you see the signs which are homemade, not professional signs paid for by the Koch Brothers.

This nice guy in the red shirt was one of our taxi partners.

When GP saw TV cameras, he became antsy and wanted to leave. He did NOT want me on TV. I didn't particularly want to be on TV, but if the camera captured me, I would not have cared.

The visit to the scene of the protest was my thing, not his thing, and he was kind enough to accompany me. Being a democracy of two we had to negotiate our way through the process, as we each had our say, and then we arrived at consensus. I prevailed upon him to let me stay a while longer to talk to a few more people.

Below are some of the folks with whom I chatted as long as Grandpère would permit.

Some of the responses to my question, 'Why are you here?'
I've been waiting to do this for 10 years! There is so much that is wrong in this country, and no one is watching out for the 99%.

We want the 1% to pay their fair share of taxes.

One man wanted the police chief in New Orleans fired. He wanted me to know why there were so many criminals in NO. He said, 'Too many black people have no hope.'

We are the majority in the country, and no one is listening to us.

The big banks and the corporations run the country, and their executives get richer as the middle class and the poor get poorer.
The police accompanied the protestors during the march, and relations between the two groups were cordial. A few policemen were across the street from the plaza, but they apparently saw nothing to police. Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu paid an impromptu visit to the people in the plaza and chatted with them. It was not a photo op. You can follow the latest updates on the Occupy NOLA Facebook page.

Photo update from Occupy Wall Street/Foley Square/NYC:

Thanks to Roger Bishop Alan. It takes one to know one. (I am a retired librarian.)


it's margaret said...

Oh Grandmere! --that's YOUR sign!!!

God bless you for going --I can only imagine that all who met you there were glad of your presence.

JCF said...

Haven't yet gone downtown to "Occupy Sacramento" (cops have NOT been showing solidarity so far :-/).

I'm not a camera hound, but I don't fear it, either (got interviewed for the news back in August, but it---though aired---it never turned up online). I think you'd be great on camera, Mimi! :-)

JCF said...

I must add: several of the Occupy NOLA demonstrators look very pet-able (the dog, too! ;-p)

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Actually JCF, I think Grandmere would be exactly the RIGHT KIND of spokeperson for Prime Time News-- the next day, very early, the Nation would tremble with the very first ¨Senior¨ riot on their hands (we may be a tad older but we´ve got what it takes experience wise to make a 60´s style riot move!).

Grandmère Mimi said...

JCF! This is not the 60s!

Len, all was very peaceful, and I hope further occupations remain that way. I'll have you know that I was dressed properly, right out of the 'Clothing Stylebook for Protest Sympathizers of a Certain Age'.

Counterlight said...

Good for you Grandmere! The thing I love about politics is that it's one of the few activities where just showing up really matters.

They all look like very nice lovely people.

When you see the cameras coming, just say "I'm ready for my closeup Mr. DeMille."

Grandmère Mimi said...

Counterlight, I laugh at the folks who say if the protestors would dress right, they'd get more sympathy. The folks there looked fine to me. What do the critics want? The men in suits and ties? And the women in dressed-for-success suits?

Lapinbizarre said...

Very proud of you, love. Credit for the Librarian scan should go to +Alan, from whom I lifted it.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Lapin, thanks. I corrected my post to give credit where credit is due.

Erika Baker said...

It is so wonderful to imagine you and Grandpere being there and I think having had you on TV would have been amazing. I can see Grandpere's worry, though, it wouldn't take long for you to become one of the A'listers of the Take Over battle!

Which would be excellent news for the battle but maybe not so excellent news for your democracy of two.

Lapinbizarre said...

"Takes one to know one" may be confusing those who believe Alan to be a bishop.

Grandmère Mimi said...

LOL, Erika. GP does not want me to be an A-lister for The Great Battle. I embarrass him quite enough already in our conservative small town.

Lapin, yes, it might be confusing. I added that I was a retired librarian.

margaret, I left a comment earlier saying the woman gave me the perfect message for my sign if I visit another occupation. I don't know what happened to it.