An Incident at the Calliope

A part of the Corrections Documentary Project

That was the fastest they ever let anyone off the car!
Yeah, we ought to have everyone back here with cameras!

In the spring of 2002, while shooting for Close Tallulah Now! in New Orleans, we were brought over to the Calliope housing projects to interview some of its residents about the police presence there, especially about a controversial police force called “Safe Home.” As we were waiting for one of our interviewees to cross the lawn to us, black cars which are rumored to pull up onto the lawn and randomly search residents — often arresting them for “trespassing” — indeed pulled up onto the lawn and stopped our interviewee for questioning. Once the presence of our camera was pointed out to the police officers, they handed him back his wallet in what was apparently “the fastest they ever let anyone off the car.”

An accidental circustance of counter-surveillance to keep state power in check, it is a brief glimpse of the flexing of state power in communities whose voice is more criminalized than listened to and respected.

2005 / 8 Minutes