Re: mutilation and tattoos

Nedra Sue Davis (ndavis@VARUNA.ENG.LSU.EDU)
Thu, 4 Jul 1996 11:46:40 -0700

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 11:44:46 -0700 (CDT)
From: Nedra Sue Davis <>
To: Holly Swyers <swyersh@INTERPORT.NET>
Cc: Multiple recipients of list ANTHRO-L <ANTHRO-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU>
Subject: Re: mutilation and tattoos

> Just a quick question for Nedra Sue Davis: What are the parameters of your
> research on tattoos? Are you looking at _anyone_ who might have a tattoo,
> or are you limiting your research to particular groups?
Ms. Swyers,

The parameters of my research are age and area, and social background.

i am interviewing gutter-punks in New Orleans (NO)LA. ages ranging from
15 - 34. i am also conducting research in Baton Rouge with local kids that
hang out on a particular street near the University that has a body shop
(piercing, tattoos, ect...). Chime Street is known to punks like Bourbon

The gutter-punks, gothics, hippies, squatters, crusties, rainbows all
hang out in New Orleans in the coffee shop Khaldies, down by the river
(levee) and in the Quarter Square, they are on the con spare-changing
people to get money to party or eat (usually in that order). once i
approach them to talk about their tattoos some are very informed and are
articulate about the various meanings of their tattoos, others, well...
drug induced stupors are not the mind nurturing, soul reflecting

Most of the people i have spoken to in NO do their own work
or have a close friend to do it ("close" could mean you "hung-out" all
night, or your travelling partner). they are called scratchers by
professionals. some of the people in NO have very elaborate work,
professionally executed, but may have bartered for it.

These people work mainly in a non-monetary system of exchange
and believe in many idealistic or unrealistic ideas,
such as "Rent should be free" - these people live in a "leisure"
lifestyle, where work, bills, and such are not deemed valuable,
but part of "the system". they will spare-change people,
what they call work, to get a bottle of lets say vodka, go down
to the levee to share their "bootie" with those who also bring something
to the group, otherwise they will send you on your way as a freeloader!
you can see people, young people, with homemade tattoo guns, dosed out of
their minds (on LSD) just jabbing another design on right on the levee @

i hope i did not ramble on too much :)

Nedra Sue Davis PHONE: 504-388-6027
3414 CEBA