Robert: I was born and raised in New Orleans. Uptown, from the St. Thomas projects. I got taken away from my mother when I was born because she was addicted to freebase cocaine [crack]. I stayed with my grandma until I was three years old when they gave me back to my mom.
My parents were alcoholics so they would always stroll me down onto Bourbon Street. So, at about five, six, seven years old I start seeing how everyone was hustling and making money down there. By the time I was 12 a lot of my friends had started selling drugs, weed and shit like that. I was like, “man I can make money too. Fuck school. I’m smart”
At 13 years old, I jumped off the porch and ditched school. I started selling crack at this place called the roundup down in the French Quarter. Truancy officer came and got me one time. I’m playing the video poker machine at 13 in a bar *laughing*. I had to spend like three months in the juvenile.
At 16 years old I was just way to bout it. We had this little gang called the Tentmore Block Boys. We was out there slingin’ weed, carrying guns. My mom couldn’t deal with me anymore so, she threw me out. I was in the streets. I was like, “oh shit, what am I gonna do?” But I got adopted by Grandma Maggie and my Uncle, Dirty Red. They were slingin’ weed and crack too so I said “fuck it, I’m gonna still get it in.”
I was still too young to buy alcohol so, I was waiting at the store for my home boy to come out and bring me a beer. There were two dudes arguing in the parking lot across the street. Next thing I know, two shots pop off. I caught the ricochet right here [points to leg].
BW: Is it still in there?
Robert: Yeah, they can’t take it out. It’s too close to the femoral artery. That’s why I walk with a limp. Well, that and the state trooper stuff.
BW: The state trooper stuff?
Yeah, two nights ago I was on Bourbon Street with my girlfriend, dancing. No problem. State troopers pull us apart and throw me against the wall. They run my name. Two warrants popped up but they’d already been taken care of. But the state police were like, “whatever, we’re taking you to jail anyway.” They put me in the back of the squad car. I could hear them on the radio. They were calling Orleans Parish Prison and the clerks like, “We’re not taking him. Write him a summons.” They said over the radio, “Those attachments have already been taken care of.”
I can hear the cops bitching. Talking about wasting their time and how they were gonna fuck this boy up. I’m like, “oh shit, I’m gonna get released but I’m gonna get my ass kicked.” They get me out the car. I’m still cuffed and they put me against the trunk. They uncuff me and hit me in the back of the knees with the baton. They said “You’re banned from Bourbon Street for a month!” I haven’t been able to walk right for two days now. I got out of the quarter real quick.
Their [state cops] whole job here is to bust heads. The reason they were supposed to come here was to stop the shootings on Bourbon street but they’re fuckin’ with the homeless.
NOPD is cool. It’s the state police that are really hurting people. They already have 70 lawsuits on them. It’s all because of Governor Jindal sending them in. They were supposed to leave by Mardi Gras and they haven’t. Now they’re down in the French Quarter beating up on the homeless.
I got my ribs cracked about a month ago. I had a seizure and I was on the street, passed out. The state police came up and booted me in the ribs.
BW: Just for no reason?
Robert: Because I’m homeless.