Friday, December 18, 2015

New Orleans Civil Disobedience: The Homeless Guy Keeps His Christmas Tree, Dammit!

Good Samaritans decorate a Christmas tree
for Philly, a homeless guy living beneath a freeway
in New Orleans. The city took away Philly's earlier
Christmas tree, claiming a "code violation." 
There's a homeless guy named Philly who lives beneath the Pontchartrain Expressway in New Orleans.

Desperate for some holiday cheer, he got himself a Christmas tree, decorated it and set it up next to his tent. (He used some money a passerby donated to him to get the tree.)

The city was not amused. They removed it - twice. Code violation the New Orleans sanitation department said, without additional explanation.

The first time it was taken away, Philly managed to retrieve it from the sanitation truck and set it back up.

The second time, no luck. The city hauled the Christmas tree away and destroyed it.

In a city swamped with crime, poverty and other problems, I'm not sure why removing Philly's Christmas tree took such priority. But many of New Orleans' fine citizens didn't buy the New Orleans sanitation department's Grinchiness.

Television station WDSU reported on the city taking Philly's Christmas tree, and viewers were NOT happy.

"The city that stole Christmas from the homeless," was a typical comment on WDSU's Facebook page.

Residents sprung into action. Several ducked under the Ponchartrain Expressway and gave Philly replacement trees. Several. So Philly kept one and donated others to those in need.

WDSU said one of the people who came to the underpass was Kelly Caruso, who donated Christmas decorations to Philly. "We need to be New Orleanians and band together. With the city taking the tree, was i word I don't use often--shameful....... I don't care what code violation it is, it's the holidays. These people need everything that can unlift them as much as we can," Caruso said.

So far the city hasn't responded to the mass "code violations" the people who brought Christmas trees committed.

Of course, it would be much better if Philly wasn't homeless and could just put up a Christmas tree in his own living room under a solid roof, but this will have to do for now.

It's a start, anyway.

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