I keep meaning to return to more active blogging, but I've been so busy with teaching, The Sula Foundation and...well, being mugged, that I haven't had a chance to do much more than post on my Twitter and Facebook pages. So feel free to follow along there.
But, back to the mugging. On October 17th we were working a table at the Barkmarket edition of the Bywater Art Market. I had the proofs of the Pit Bulls of New Orleans calendar, and needed to get them to the graphic designer for some changes. Since she lived just a few blocks away, and it was only 2:30 in the afternoon, and the weather was gorgeous, I decided to walk them over to her house. On the way there, I ran into a friend outside of her house, someone I used to see regularly back when I still lived in the neighborhood and walked my dogs past her house everyday. We stood and talked for quite a while, and I remember thinking, "This is why I should have driven--I'll just keep talking to people and this simple errand will take forever." At this point, I was approaching the intersection of Dauphine and Press Streets, just a few blocks from NOCCA, where I teach. Ahead of me, on the other side of the intersection, there was a group of teenagers on bikes. They were spread out on both sides of the street, with their backs to me. It seemed they were waiting for someone to come down the street from the other direction. If I had been planning to walk that far, I would have found a way to bypass them, but I didn't worry about it, because I was already turning up Press.
In the green space along the train tracks, two stray dogs looked up from the distance and began charging at me. Then someone clubbed me on the right side of my head and I fell hard onto the middle of the street. Soon there were several kids on top of me, hands in my pockets, asking "What have you got?" They took my iPhone, and left as the dogs continued barking at them. The dogs turned out to belong to two additional former neighbors, and when they realized what had happened, they called the police. I, of course, continued on my errand, since there was little chance of a speedy response from the police. Then, after speaking briefly with the cops when they turned up, I returned to the market, then went onto the hospital for an MRI (I was bleeding from my ear), and stopped into a fundraiser hours later on my way home.
The police, of course, have done nothing. It took multiple calls and complaints before the detective would meet with me; she then took all of my time to tell me that it was a difficult job she had to do and she really didn't want to bother with a case involving teenagers. Meanwhile, I'd heard from people all over the neighborhood that this same group of kids had been causing trouble all over. Some people even knew where the kids lived. Others could identify them. She wasn't interested. In fact, she didn't even bother taking any of this information down.
A few days later, I noticed that the incident hadn't even been reported on our districts email alert system. After pointing this out, they sent an account that bore no factual relationship to the actual events. I sent a correction. They emailed a revised report that also had most of the facts wrong. I emailed again. They sent a third version that was, at least, closer to the truth but still incorrect. I gave up.
Now, more than two months later, I still have hearing loss in my right ear and will have to repair the eardrum with a skin graft procedure.
The crime, according to the NOPD, was not a violent one.