... Where Fleetwhite Makes His Move, and Gives You Some Background About Those Crazed People in Algiers, Thanks to Broadmeyer's History Lesson ...
So at last I'd arranged a Meeting with Kermit Broadmeyer.
Normally I wouldn't give a good goddamn where we met, but with Kermit's Algiers Connections, and given the fact that he fucking LIVED there, he insisted we meet over a drink, or two or three or four, at this bar called the Dry Dock Café in Algiers Point, on Delaronde Street, his favorite Boozing Hole after he'd filled up a few Dead People's Veins with chemicals and all that other stuff I guess Morticians do. He was one of the few people who could still cross over the ten-minute ride on the Algiers Freedom Ferry and back, but people in Algiers were a little freaked out by him anyway and weren't gonna fuck with him, so I was pretty sure I'd be alright. At least that was the Chance I was gonna have to take.
He was less imposing than I'd have thought, though, when he picked me up at the Ferry Terminal on the edge of the Quarter tall and thin, and laughing and joking like he was priming up for a Standup routine. One could say his manner was Disarming, Ingratiating, Creepy, Hilarious, or just plain Jaded as Hell. Or maybe these are all the same thing, actually. At least that seemed to be Kermit Broadmeyer's take on it.
And on the way over to the Dry Dock Café, he told me some really interesting shit, only a bit of which I'd known of at ALL. He seemed to be leading up to something. Then again, MOST people seem like they're Leading Up to Something, somehow, and somehow, they never are. But with Broadmeyer, I knew better.
So it seems that when the Mafia first came to America, they all settled in Algiers, and more or less controlled fucked-up old Nola from there, with the Dope Trade, 'Tute action, pretty much everything. This was in the 1880s or thereabouts. But prior to that, the History was actually a great deal more interesting, if that be the Word for it.
No Tour Guide motherfucker really talks about this shit,
But back in the Prime Days of the Black Slave Trade, (and stop me if you already know all this), it all came thru Algiers, which was so named because most of the slaves were from . . . well, North Africa. This little 25-block plot of land was the center for some Major Shit, as it served as a Waystation for the Hordes of people who were held in goddamn PENS on the ships moored on the West Bank, until such time as they were ferried over to Nola Proper to be Sold at Auction. Although Algiers, having been part of the original 1719 Land Grant, has ALWAYS been part of New Orleans, if a touristless Bastard Child of it. In 1895, God sent a fire to Punish the Place for its Sin, and the Mob built it back up real quick-like, full of Gingerbread Queen Anne Victorians and shit. But that's not the Point.
Shipbuilding took over the place, as did Greek Revival Architecture, and then the whites of Algiers Point were essentially the Niggers of people like Preston Foley and his ilk in the Garden District, who were also building what's not called the Central Business District in Between the Quarter and the District and Algiers was left looking pretty shitty by comparison, to tell you the Truth. Drive back beyond the 25 blocks I spoke of and see for yourself.
Then some of them got together and up and realized just how instrumental they WERE to people like Foley. And the Hoors in the Quarter. And the CBD. And the Rest of the Goddamn world, of whatever.
They'd been too drunk to have thought of it Before, but they weren't as drunk as the people in Nola. It was time for the Coup-Coup Bird to Come Home to Roost.
They wanted to reinstitute Slavery in New Orleans. Only thing they failed to reckon, is that slavery has NEVER REALLY BEEN ABOLISHED in New Orleans.
So all those Che Guevara motherfuckers with their missiles and converted semi-automatic rifles, well, we'd just have to Save them from Themselves. And don't worry, Kermit told me. Plenty of people still die all the TIME, in both places. SOMETIMES, before they actually fall down and Bite the Dust! Which, according to Kermit, gave the Families ample time to Prepare. Like those people who live in that place on 1005 Decatur, where they have a hand-lettered sign out front that says, ROOMS AVAILABLE. $65 A WEEK AND UP. RING THE BELL. And THOSE dudes, the ones that live up there at 1005 Decatur Street, they're a cross between Humans and Nutrias! Y'know, those things that come up out of the River and look like a cross between a Rat and a Mangy Dog. Well, THESE guys look like a cross between a Human and THAT, and no help from Algiers was ever Required.
Let the Good Times Roll.
But all this and then some, but Nola couldn't let it happen. Unlike, say, New York, if New Orleans finally gets Squashed, the people there'll be way, WAY too lazy to Build it Back Up.
And then there was the small matter of who exactly these Algiers Freedom Fighters WERE. Now the rest of this shit, I could understand. But when Kermit Broadmeyer started talking about THAT, I, even ME, I was 4th and 80 from punting what was left of my Sanity back to Mandeville for somebody on the Saints to run it back all the way into the River.
And I knew what I had to do. What Kermit Broadmeyer planned to do, well, at the Time I had No Idea. But he KNEW I had no idea, and just as he was with the rest of his Future Clients in New Orleans Metro, Kermit was nothing if not Patient.