Greed, Rage, and Woman-Battering at Mardi Gras:
It all started simply: In April 2011, the local weekly newspaper Lafayette, Louisiana, The Independent, did an investigative story on how messed up the area's property tax laws are, so bad that they allowed a wealthy developer, Dr. Glenn Stewart, a radiation oncologist, to get a tax break because he could get a single bale of hay out of the land and so pay a special, low agriculture rate meant to give a break to farmers. He paid $42 on land that might have been taxed at 1000 times that. (That's not a misprint.) The article was fair, with the law itself being blamed, not the individuals merely following it.
One of the publishers of the newspaper is Cherry Fisher May. The Rude Pundit worked for May, and her husband, Steve May, a long, long time ago, when she ran another weekly, the Times of Acadiana. He also went to high school and college and partied back in the day with her stepdaughter, Erin May, who is now Erin Fitzgerald, an elementary school teacher. He liked all of them, and he maintains the tenuous tie that Facebook provides with Erin.
Stewart was upset by the article. Wait. That's an understatement. Stewart went totally batshit insane and apparently believed that May was out to destroy the upscale strip mall he was building on the land. He rented out four billboards around Lafayette calling attention to Cherry Fisher May's August 2010 arrest for drunk driving. Well, again, that's perhaps being too subtle. Check it out:
Yep, that's her mugshot. And, yep, it's wondering why the same newspaper that questioned the tax laws didn't see fit to do a story on May. It's the logic of madness: Because you like oranges and hate apples, you must be an orange, even if you're obviously a person.
Flash forward to Mardi Gras last week. Now, Lafayette has nothing on New Orleans when it comes to the yearly bacchanalia, but it's the second biggest celebration in the United States, and it's a big, drunk time for everyone. The final parade is the Independent Parade (not affiliated with the newspaper). Anyone can apply to put together a float. Glenn Stewart said that his float would be related to his new development, Parc Lafayette.
What Stewart instead did was this:
It reads, "Caution: Float driven by Cherry Fisher May." That's right. An entire float, to ride past the drunken throngs, probably carrying drunken people, devoted to smearing a woman because her newspaper thought a tax loophole was unfair.
Erin May Fitzgerald, not wanting to see her stepmother degraded once again, did something she now admits was a mistake (and for which she has apologized). She tried to cut down and tear the banners off the side of the float.
Seeing Fitzgerald, Stewart, classy as ever, first hit her with a jello shot from on high. Then the 6'4" 240-pound Stewart climbed off the float and, apparently, punched Fitzgerald in the face, knocking her unconscious. Being a 53 year-old doctor, you might think he'd realize his mistake and then help her. Or at least be a coward and run. No, because it seems that Stewart is a special kind of dickhead. He stood over Fitzgerald and took photos of her:
You can see other photos, including Fitzgerald's injuries, at the paper's website.
Then he got back on the float and rode the rest of the parade. He was arrested seven hours later on a charge of second degree battery. He faces the possibilities of prison time and the loss of his medical license. Fitzgerald was issued citations for disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. She just wants to put this behind her and get back to teaching 3rd grade. Most of the public reaction has been extraordinarily negative for Stewart, with some calling for a boycott of Parc Lafayette (which sucks for those who just leased space there). Other repercussions, such as changes in the Independent Parade, will surely follow. It's the South. And this big fucker allegedly cold-cocked a woman. People don't take too kindly to that.
Rage-filled sociopath Stewart sought to bully and silence people. No, let's get even more specific. Rage-filled misogynist Stewart sought to bully and silence women. He didn't attack Steve May, who is also a publisher of the Independent, in so public a manner. And you can sure as hell bet that Stewart would not have taken a swing at a man.