Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Old Money Hierarchy and Luncheon Clubs Make Class Mutiny Easy!

In New Orleans, old money families have controlled the social, economic, and political life of our city for centuries. While these feudal lords currently represent an older form of hierarchical power that relies on extremely racialized and extremely gendered structures, more contemporary forms have recently elbowed their way into some spheres of influence (which was a necessary requirement for the continued reproduction of capitalism). However, the white old money elites still (mis-)rule much of New Orleans and are squarely to blame for the severe inequalities that still exist in our city.

Lucky for us, many old money patriarchs like to gather in Luncheon Clubs such as the Boston Club, Stratford Club, Pickwick Club, and the Louisiana Club, making them easier for us to find and confront. These Clubs are the exclusive domains of heirs to slave plantation wealth and other elite, rich lineages. They also happen to be the places from which many old-line Mardi Gras krewes emerged, including the Krewe of Comus and the Krewe of Momus, both made infamous by their decision to stop parading when integration was set as a condition for getting city parade permits in the early 1990s.
The Boston Club, decorated for a night parade, 
1906. One of Mardi Gras' long-running traditions 
features Rex, King of Carnival, toasting his 
Queen in front of the Boston Club on Mardi 
Gras Day. (h/t Old N.O.)
These Luncheon Clubs connect the elite of New Orleans. They are places where business deals, social appointments, arcane traditions, and other elements that maintain the wealth in the hands of the few are carried out over cocktails and steaks.

Therefore, if ever we have problems with the way social, economic, and political life is constructed and reproduced in New Orleans, these are probably the people we should go see about it!

At the same time, we must consciously orient ourselves during such challenges to old-money power structures such that we are not just clearing the way for the recent, multicultural, liberal elites to transfer more power into their own hands. We must demand the destruction of power itself, and challenge all who would re-concentrate it in new forms while we simultaneously disturb the genteel peace the old money elites have so far enjoyed until they release their stranglehold on our city. It can't hurt to ask, right?


  1. And how, pray tell, do you plan to go about this?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Go about what? Dismantling class society? I'll refer you to the AnarchistFAQ, it's about 2,000 pages long. Luckily it's broken down into smaller Qs & As for you.

  4. I hate to tell you guys this but you aren't allowed to discuss business at the Louisiana or Stratford Club. It would be gauche to do so. There is nothing sinister about these clubs, it is just a place to eat and have a good time.

  5. Well, then, can I come with you the next time you are going?
    Don't be naive, any time powerful/rich people meet, plans are made. Whether they be golfing plans, where ideas and deals will then be made outside of the Luncheon Club setting, or social arrangements that ensure power and wealth stays within certain families, these clubs facilitate that, and they therefore have the power to change all the fucked up things that go on in our city if they chose to discuss how to do so, instead of discussing their latest golf scores, because they are a meeting place of concentrated wealth, and therefore political power.

  6. Anarcha-I am a member of several of the clubs you listed. We are very private organizations and shun any type of publicity. You won't find websites, or pictures online that describe the club, and anything you read is pure speculation. While there may be some wealthy members, most are guys like me. A mortgage that is too big, tuition bills for our kid's schools, etc. We are professionals but not wealthy. In fact many of the names around town that you would consider wealthy and the "movers and shakers" are not members. There is no malevolent intent to the clubs, we just wish to associate socially with people we feel the most comfort with (as I'm sure you and everyone else does). In fact, if you could ever come to the club, you would see how utterly boring it is (the reason why many choose not to belong). It is lunch and lot of guys playing bridge and telling stories you have already heard. I I would tell you that maybe I've benefited from membership in these clubs because of getting to know someone on a personal level, but this has also happened to me at church, etc. Speaking of political power, I know Dems and Repbublicans in the club, although most are disgusted with both sides like I am. I know of a couple of guys who use the club as a place to hide from work. In short, just because a place chooses to be exclusive, doesn't make it a place with things to hide.

  7. In other words no blacks allowed we don't want then darkies eating off our plates!

  8. Funny how, when the anarchists have their way in the world, everyone suffers, including the anarchists.

  9. Envy and Greed are opposite sides of the same dark crystal . These clubs
    generally are good natured collections of friends who know each other for many years . They often are very kind guys - maybe a bit indulged of course . But they are not generally phillistines of faceless new corporate cultures .