Viral footage capturing New Orleans activist and former mayoral candidate Byron Cole confronting a woman after a street in his neighborhood was blocked off to make room for a permit-less party has been viewed more than 150,000 times.
According to Cole, he received calls from elderly neighbors saying they were unable to drive down the street because it was blocked off, so he went outside to see what was going on. Outside, a street barrier and a parked car were being used to block the street, and further down the road, groups of people were gathered, listening to performers sing and play music, footage taken by Cole shows.
Speaking to the camera, Cole said he wanted to know if the people had a permit, and if so, why the residents of the neighborhood weren’t notified about the event.
“We live in a double standard community,” Cole said, before referencing a racial incident that had occurred on the same block a few years prior. “New Orleans is playing with double standards.” Cole is Black, and the people gathered for the party appeared to be nearly all white. He said gentrification is a major problem in the 7th Ward where he’s lived his whole life.
Cole explained that he had called the New Orleans Police Department to come out in order to get clarity on what was happening.
In another clip, Cole continues talking to the camera when a woman, later identified as Janna Perry-Holloway, approached him and said she wanted to talk about the “process” for holding the event because a neighbor had said he was upset.
Cole began to question Perry-Holloway about where she was from. When she said the area was her home, he challenged her, saying he lived in his great-grandmother’s house, implying he would know if she was really from the area.
“Where are you from?” he asked again.
Perry-Holloway replied by saying she wanted Cole to “come hang out” with her, then admitted that she was not originally from the neighborhood, but from Arkansas.
“Why weren’t we notified you were going to shut our street down?” Cole asked, before becoming angry and using profanity as he continued to engage with Perry-Holloway as other partygoers who gathered around.
As the exchange deteriorated, Perry-Holloway bent over at one point and lifted her skirt up to expose her buttocks, before appearing to prepare to move her vehicle.
Cole continued to argue with other individuals.
“Oh, please, you never heard of a block party, you a–hole?” one woman said.
“I know they got laws and rules b-tch!” Cole replied. “Laws and rules.”
“Why don’t you go home?” she said.
“I am at home, b-tch, that’s my point, I am at home.”
When the police arrived, Cole said he wanted the partygoers who blocked the street to be cited. “I want her cited, she took her personal car and blocked the street to where my neighbors start calling me from everywhere.”
Turning back to the camera, Cole said “the people would have been in jail if they were Black.”
An officer initially told Cole parking enforcement would have to handle anyone who blocked the street with their car, saying he didn’t have the ability to cite someone for a parking violations, only for traffic offenses.
When Cole challenged that idea, the officer said it would have been different if he had seen what happened with his own eyes, although Cole had shown him a picture pf the car blocking the street. The officer ultimately agreed to file a report about the incident.
On social media, Perry-Holloway shared her side of the story, explaining that the street was being blocked for JazzFest, and admitting that she should have gotten a permit. “Ticket me but don’t try to say that I’m not an ally or that I’m a racist!” she wrote.
On Wednesday, May 5, Cole said he had received a phone call from a person who had attended the party apologizing for what happened and said he didn’t know the street was blocked and understood why Cole was upset.