Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Bumpin' Club

This is the eighth in a series of posts inspired by a federal drug conspiracy case targeting a middle aged housewife and three of her children.

Brett Grayson and Jerry Stutes wanted to talk to Dexter Harmon, a smooth-talking entrepreneurial spirit who had been sent to federal prison in March of 2000 on the strength of inmate “snitch” testimony. The resilient Harmon quickly turned the snitch game to his own advantage, shaving his multi-decade sentence down to a mere six years by spilling the beans on his drug world associates.

Jerry Stutes remembered Dexter Harmon as the proprietor of the Carrier Club 88 in Church Point, Louisiana between 1989 and 1993. If the Colomb family were involved in a narcotics conspiracy, Dexter would know about it.

The Carrier Club 88 was named in honor of local sports legend Mark Carrier who starred as wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the late 80s and early 90s. Dexter Harmon put little Church Point (pop. 5,000) on the map by booking big-city DJ’s and hungry rappers from Houston’s burgeoning Hip Hop scene.

But music wasn’t the only thing Harmon imported from Houston—the club was a drug haven. Patrons could see people snorting lines of powdered cocaine in the bathroom and drug deals went down from the minute the doors opened in the early evening till closing time at 2:00. The Rapper up on the stage was often smoking a joint, and the sweet aroma of marijuana was ubiquitous.

The Carrier Club was exciting because it was dangerous. The club was famous for its fights. The violence didn’t break out randomly; it was choreographed by visiting DJ’s.

“Is Rayne in the house?” the DJ would holler. The boys from Rayne would signal their presence with a roar. “Is Crowley in the house?” Another roar. “Is Lafayette in the house?”

Then the DJ would get down to business. “Now last week the brothers from Church Point kicked a little Crowley ass and I got one question—is Crowley gonna let that happen again?”

Boys from the Church Point and Rayne would square off in the middle of the dance floor as chairs were moved to the walls and a circle of humanity closed in around the combatants.

The Colomb boys were just entering High School when the Carrier Club hit its stride in the early 90s, but being underage was no problem—Dexter Harmon would turn you away at the front entrance and an associate would let you in at a side door. Wannabe Thugs slipped their guns into a girlfriend’s handbag then passed through Dexter’s metal detector. On Friday nights Harmon brought in strippers and on Sunday nights he would provide free food for the block parties he threw for patrons who arrived too late to get into the crowded club.

At 2:00 a.m. everyone would wander over to the Boulevard (the local youth drag) or hang out at the Sweet Shop, a fast food joint that stayed open late. The local police would start pulling over cars and writing tickets.

Dexter Harmon kept local politicians at bay for years by contributing generously to their campaigns. The Carrier Club was almost entirely segregated because white boys, intimidated by the gangsta culture that Dexter imported to bucolic Church Point. But things were getting out of hand. The local police had to call for back up when the vast throng of inebriated revelers became more than they could handle.

As the Carrier Club was enjoying its halcyon days in the early 90s the all-white Boulevard was gradually becoming integrated. In the small town south, football and church dominate the social life of every town with basketball running a distant third. Edward Colomb was a highly rated point guard during his high school years and college scouts would often be in the stands checking him out. His brother, Danny Davis, smashed every rushing record on the books in 1993, rushing for well over 100 yards a game and scoring two or three touchdowns a game. White girls were interested and the interest was reciprocated. In the early nineties all four of Ann Colomb’s sons had white girlfriends.

The response from the white community was swift and decisive. In 1993, while driving home from a pick-up basketball game in the black end of town, the car Edward Colomb and Sammy Davis were riding in was pulled over by a swarm of police officers. When the car was searched a marijuana cigarette and some suspicious looking crumbs were discovered. Edward and Sammy were searched and came up clean, but one of the boys they had been riding with was in acute physical distress. When his stomach was pumped at the hospital he told the police he had swallowed several rocks of crack cocaine.

Sheriff’s Deputy Dale Thibodeaux informed administrators at the High School that Sammy and Edward were drug dealers and they were summarily expelled. Ann and James Colomb sued the school board and the regional media gave the David-Goliath conflict a lot of play. Eventually, after Edward had missed two months of basketball, the boys were reinstated and the Colombs dropped their suit. Edward and Sammy pled no contest to possession charges, a decision the family would live to regret.

Randy Henry, the youngest of Ann Colomb’s four sons, dated a black girl named Margeaux Coleman during his high school years. An outstanding athlete and president of the National Honor Society, Margeaux was selected as valedictorian of her graduating class. A stunning beauty, she was selected as Homecoming Queen in 1995—the first black girl to win that distinction.

During the halftime coronation raucous boos filled the air and black-on-white fights broke out in stands and spilled over into the parking lot. Gunfire was heard throughout the town. One grocery store owner stood in front of his place with a shotgun, firing randomly into the air and declaring that no niggers would enter his place that night.

The following year Church Point selected David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon as the Grand Marshall of the white Mardi Gras parade (the black community, in accordance with tradition, has a separate parade). The message wasn’t subtle.

When another black girl was selected as homecoming queen the following year the school board quietly voted to discontinue the homecoming queen tradition. A court would be elected, but no queen would be crowned.

It was against this social backdrop that Danny Davis was arrested in 1995. Deputy Troy Hebert said he saw a drug dealer approach Danny’s white Mustang 5.0 and complete a hand-to-hand transfer before selling drugs to an undercover officer. Uneasy about taking such sketchy evidence to court, local officials tried to coerce Danny into taking a plea bargain. Danny refused.

A year later, Dale Thibodeaux and police officers from several regional jurisdictions broke into the home of Danny’s white girlfriend. A gun was pressed to Danny’s temple and his girlfriend, her mother, and even her infant son were also restrained at gunpoint while the house was searched. When the search came up empty Dale Thibodeaux grabbed Danny’s arm and dragged him triumphantly down the front steps where a news team, camera at the ready, was waiting to capture the arrest of a drug kingpin for the local market. Once again Danny was asked to accept a plea bargain; once again he refused.

By the mid 1990s Church Point was a transformed community. The Boulevard had been shut down. White girls who had dated Ann Colomb’s sons had been transferred to the Sacred Heart Academy in a nearby town. In 1997 a young black man who had driven from Arkansas to Church Point stopped Randy Henry and asked him where he could find the Carrier Club 88. When Randy said Dexter’s club had been closed for two years the young man was devastated. “Really,” he said, “Man, I heard that was a bumpin’ club.”

By 1997 Dexter Harmon was actively exploiting his contacts in Houston. This was the part of the story Brett Grayson and Jerry had traveled to Yazoo City to hear.


Anonymous said...

This is so sad, and sick to be " STILL " happening in 2006. In one of the worst examples of racism the world has seen was the a partite in South Africa, during that time they were locking up a little over 800 black males for every 100,000. In 2004 RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA we locked up almost " 5000 " black males per 100,000! Most, directly related to this failed policy called the war on drugs!

The war on drugs, is in truth a war on " ALL " OUR PEOPLE and our Freedoms and Rights! It is used " BY SOME " as a VEHILCE AND MEANS for self serving political bigots " AT ALL LEVELS " to enact and achieve their biased and self serving agendas, FACT!!


There has got to be a better way!

Rusty White
Speaker www.leap.cc

Anonymous said...

Although the war on America, euphemistically tagged "the war on drugs" most dramatically impacts poor and blacks, it touches every corner of society. Yesterday, I learned that a high ranking coworker (a white middle class professional) has grandchildren with a father in prison. Today I learned that another coworker (also white professional)has a daughter in prison.
Mass incarceration is a hallmark of a totalitarian, not a democratic, regime.

Anonymous said...


You are 100% correct, and thank you for the honesty and the heart to stand up! I use these figures and others to show the realities we live with. We have about 5% of this planet population living in our country, " YET " we have almost 25% of those doing prison time on this planet, DOING IT IN THE FREEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD???? Our prisons and jails have been turned in to " PEOPLE RANCHES FOR PROFIT "!! How sad is that, these private prisons have went as far as to hire lobbyist to lobby for mandatory minimums??? CAN YOU SAY JOB AND PROFIT SECURITY!!! If one stops and really thinks about all the different entities that profit from this CASH COW. A long with the ability to deny accountability by using it as a shield, or a political ploy, you start to see the BIG PICTURE!

Both the bad guys and "SOME " of the good guys are afraid of what we at leap are doing. The bad guys know we are going to take away their power and money. The good guys know the same, as well as take the ability to use drugs as an excuse to avoid accountability! It will not be easy to wean everybody off this CASH COW! But our grandparents had the heart and wisdom in the 20's to do away with a KNOW PROHIBITON FAILURE, I just hope we have the wisdom and heart to do the same! Those coming behind us have their very lives and freedoms depending on it!

Rusty White
Speaker www.leap.cc

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