A brutal beating in New Orleans following the Southern Republican Leadership Conference — held in that city from April 8-11 — has challenged the myth regarding the preferred residence of political thuggery.
Circumstantial evidence is piling up that far-left anarchists viciously attacked a staffer to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, putting Allee Bautsch and her boyfriend Joe Brown in the hospital with broken bones. The story has been, unsurprisingly, ignored.
Bautsch, a rising star in Republican politics and just 25 years old, helped organize a $10,000-a-plate GOP fundraiser at the legendary Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Jindal attended the affair, as did Republican Governors Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Rick Perry of Texas.
The event drew a hostile protest from a group which had initially assembled to protest the SRLC at the Hilton Riverside Hotel, a half-mile away. That protest, which had purportedly focused on state budget cuts to higher education and health care, was organized by the Iron Rail Book Collective. The Iron Rail is a self-described anarchist commune, boasting of holding book-study groups on violent revolutionary literature and having vandalized French Quarter banks in recent months.
Iron Rail members engaged in rhetoric which, had it been used by conservative protesters, would have headlined that week’s coverage.
Video of their demonstration at Brennan’s shows a protest barely short of a riot. Attendees at the fundraiser were subjected to intense verbal abuse upon arriving and leaving the restaurant.
After Jindal, Barbour, and Perry had departed the restaurant from a rear entrance, an employee of Brennan’s announced to the demonstrators that the three were no longer present. The protesters refused to either leave or to cease the abusive chanting. Sometime either before or shortly after the New Orleans Police were called in a semi-successful effort to break up the protest, Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere found himself blocked from exiting the restaurant’s front door. When Villere then tried to exit through the rear, he was chased by protesters. He made a narrow escape into a waiting taxi.
About an hour later, Bautsch and Brown exited through the front door into what appeared to be a dwindling demonstration. The duo were immediately “catcalled” by the remaining protesters, and were followed by a group of approximately five white males bearing a “counterculture” appearance. The pursuers made repeated insulting comments based largely in class-warfare rhetoric: “little blond bitch,” “you think you’re f***ing special.”
Brown told Bautsch to hurry towards their car. When they reached the 600 block of St. Louis Street, a block and a half from Brennan’s, Brown turned to gauge their progress.
At that time, the attack began.
Brown was immediately set upon by four of the assailants, thrown into a wrought-iron fence. Another assailant attacked Bautsch, knocking her to the ground and stomping on her leg. She suffered four breaks in the leg, requiring a steel rod during extensive surgery on April 10, and faces three months of recuperation.
Brown suffered a broken nose and jaw, and a concussion.
Both are deeply traumatized from the attack. And both have said that while they can’t prove the attack was an explicitly political one, they believe it was exactly that, and furthermore, was committed by the protesters.
Bautsch’s mother, Della Berning, believes that the attackers picked their target. Bautsch had ventured to the front door of the restaurant when Brennan’s employees announced to the crowd the governors had left, which may have given the protesters a good look at her — and the perception that she was an organizer or official for the fundraiser. Considering that Villere had been chased while other attendees were allowed to exit but with a torrent of profanity and verbal abuse, Berning’s opinion warrants investigation.
After the attack, New Orleans Police officers arrived and arranged for EMS personnel to attend to the couple. But the initial report on the case was filed as a “fight,” rather than the second-degree battery it obviously was. (As an aside, New Orleans Police have recently been caught employing a practice designed to artificially improve the city’s crime statistics.)
As a result, no investigation began on the case until Monday, April 12 — three days after the attack.
NOPD detective Nick Gernon, the detective assigned to the case, didn’t speak with Brown until April 12 and with Bautsch until April 15 — six days after the attack.
Gernon, a veteran detective with a solid reputation, is believed to be investigating the protesters. However, as Villere has said he believes the attackers were likely “professional agitators” brought in from outside New Orleans, it’s quite possible the delays in opening the investigation have left Gernon little to work with.
The local media and national media have avoided acknowledging the potential political nature of the assault all along, even after revelations of significant circumstantial evidence.
The Iron Rail Book Collective, whose website and blog are covered with revolutionary and anti-capitalist rhetoric, hosted two flyers advertising the demonstration, and also an eight-page brochure filled with intense verbiage. It repeatedly stated that SRLC attendees were not welcome in New Orleans four years after Republicans had “drowned” the city, and called for “direct action” and “active resistance” against the conferees.
Members of the Iron Rail encouraged the protesters to join them in adjourning to Brennan’s, both through another set of flyers they issued on site and by use of a public-address system to “invite” their comrade demonstrators to march on the restaurant. That a relatively tame — if profane and obnoxious — protest turned unruly and dangerous at the eatery could be the result of strategic planning.
Bautsch has identified photos of an auburn-haired, “dirty-looking” protester from both the Hilton and Brennan’s demonstrations as looking “exactly” like the assailant the couple described to police, though she admitted she can’t positively identify the protester.
On the Iron Rail-produced brochure of the protest is a map of five hotels at which SRLC attendees were principally lodged during the conference. Two members of the Iron Rail Gang — Joanna Dubinsky and Daniel Mauch — took down YouTube videos and Facebook pages identifying them and their compatriots as having participated in the event last week after scrutiny of the Iron Rail commenced. Dubinsky is pictured in photos and video at both the Hilton and Brennan’s, speaking into the PA system while wearing a red-and-black anarcho-communist flag (which is also pictured on the Iron Rail website). Neither has come forward to deny having knowledge regarding the perpetrators of the attack.
None of this information seems to have piqued the curiosity of the local New Orleans newspaper, the Times-Picayune. T-P reporting has focused on the NOPD’s initial police report, which is substantially incomplete. Local television and radio news outlets have shown a similarly incurious attitude toward the case. Outside of Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, to date no traditional national outlet has deigned to investigate what seems to be a pin in the balloon of the “right-wing violence” narrative.
Della Berning is caring for her injured and traumatized daughter on a long-distance basis (she currently lives in Florida), with diminishing hope that the assailants who shattered her leg and put a rising career on a three-month hiatus will ever be brought to justice.
Bautsch and Brown have to date received no expressions of sympathy or support — or even vows to catch the attackers — from either outgoing New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin or Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu.
And the public is left to wonder whether the legacy media is at all concerned with finding the truth or investigating incidents of leftist violence.