Civil society and community thrive in otherwise troubled Detroit, and traditions like John's Carpet House are the reason --which is why police should leave it be.
"The Google Street View for 2133 Frederick Street in Detroit, Michigan, reveals what seems to be a typical scene in the heart of that beleaguered city, namely, utter desolation. Not a house in sight. Patches of old driveways and sidewalks, and crumbling street curbs. But if you look at bit closer, you’ll notice something else. No trash. The empty lots in the foreground are neatly mowed. And there’s a makeshift stage in the corner of one of the lots. For this is the site of John’s Carpet House and Pete’s Place, where for the past 15 years 'Mardi Gras in the ’Hood' has sprung to life every summer Sunday between 3:30 pm and dusk. . . . Ironically, the only threat to this scarce and desperately needed stirring of civic energy has been posed by officials of the city of Detroit. Some years ago, the police tried to shut it down, but they backed off after Barrow purchased the eight vacant lots where it occurred. He was led to believe, he insists, that as owner of the property his gatherings could now be considered private events. But on a Sunday in late July, the police were back, and closed down the gathering." -- William Schambra, the Nonprofit Quarterly