The following has been transcribed (with minimal edits for clarity and format) from hand-written letters by our correspondent “Leather,” who is currently serving a sentence in the Orleans Justice Center—a.k.a. Orleans Parish Prison, or OPP—for charges related to a family dispute, subsequent warrants, and the labyrinthian carceral state in general. 

Coronavirus Part 2 

There was no way I could effectively write about the coronavirus with just one article, considering this could very much be the biggest tragedy of our lifetime. I honestly believe Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office is acting as a concentration camp for this virus, with over 321 cases back here alone, but you’ll never hear that on the news. As a small business owner (Leather Lily Shoe Repair) I can feel the pain, and I can feel the pressure when I talk to my brother who has had his doors closed since February. To a small business that’s a lifetime. 

Being in a penal institution, it’s impossible to practice social distancing. People constantly coming in from the street—can’t be sure, but my guess is they’re not properly quarantining or screening the people coming in this facility. So to readers who have family members incarcerated in Orleans Parish, know for a fact, we are being treated very poorly and they are not testing us, symptoms are being ignored. They’re not allowing us to get haircuts, laundry is not being properly changed, refuse to supply us with masks without medical attention. We as inmates are scared to death even to fill out a sick call cause if you do, the medical staff will move you to a tier where people are quarantined. They don’t care if it’s sinus, achilles heel, toothache, anything—you’re sent to quarantine with people who are both positive and negative for the coronavirus. In a facility such as this that’s only been open like four years and is supposed to be state-of-the-art, you would think they would be better prepared for a national disaster, especially after Katrina. 

Trump got on national TV and said vaccine or no vaccine the country will reopen. Now does that sound like someone who cares about human life over a dollar? I don’t think so. So do me a favor: use common sense in this matter. Of course if you have to go to work then go, just be more mindful of touching, use plenty of hand sanitizer, find a good quality antibacterial spray, regularly wipe your own work area, your work telephones, and please don’t just run back out in large crowds. And if you can, cut down trips to places like the grocery. Curbside services are gonna grow because some people are gonna develop a phobia about being outside. Can’t be for sure, I don’t hear from too many friends since I’m in jail. But the ones I do hear from and support me during these trying times, I love y’all dearly, thanks so much. I swear without family and friends I would lose my mind and without my ANTIGRAVITY family as a positive forum to reach people all over New Orleans and let them know what’s really going on. Now some interviews from Tales from the Pen. 

How do you feel about the coronavirus? 

I feel it comes from the devil. The Bible tells us about plagues. 

Do you have any friends or family that have died from coronavirus? 

I don’t really know. I’m homeless with no family. 

Do you think coronavirus was made in a lab? 

Yeah, in China. 

Do you fear for your life? 

No I just want to get out of jail. 

How do you feel about the coronavirus? 

I feel it’s the worst pandemic the world has ever seen. 

Do you feel it’s manmade? 


What do you think about reopening New Orleans? 

I think it’s a very bad idea, much too early. 

Do you fear for your life in here at your age? 

Yes I’m very afraid. It’s awful how they treat us in here. 

How do you feel about coronavirus? 

The coronavirus is killing people faster than anything I have ever heard of or seen in my life.  

What do you think about reopening New Orleans? 

I think they are doing the right thing. The courts need to open and the city needs money. 

Do you fear for your life? 

In this jail, hell yeah. I think it’s worse here than in the streets. 

Do you think the coronavirus is manmade? 

It could be, I don’t trust Trump. 

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