Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
The Anarch Movement
“Societies in decline have no use for visionaries.”
“The revolution… is a dictatorship of the exploited against the exploiters.”
“Freedom suppressed and again regained bites with keener fangs than freedom never endangered.”
—Cicero, De Officiis
The Anarchs of New Orleans are not the wild, gun-toting hooligans that one finds in the California Free State—or at least, the influential ones aren’t. Prince Vidal remembers the tumultuous nights of the original Anarch Revolt and is extraordinarily harsh in punishing Kindred who brazenly flout the Camarilla’s laws. Those Anarchs who have achieved any measure of status in the Big Easy have learned to work from within the system, side-by-side with Prince Vidal, in hopes of effecting change. Indeed, they have actually managed to insert themselves into a few fairly important positions in the city hierarchy. Two of the city’s Primogen are Anarchs (or at least, as some argue, merely sympathetic towards the Movement). One of them, Coco Duquette, is also the local covenant’s informal leader. Between their efforts, they have managed to restrain Prince Vidal from oppressing the local Anarchs to quite the same extent that he throws his weight against the Invictus and the Circle of the Crone. (Of course, some argue that his tolerance of the Anarchs is based less on the efforts of these two Primogen and more on the fact that the Anarchs simply don’t pose much of a threat.)
Ultimately, the Anarch goals in New Orleans are similar to the covenant’s objectives elsewhere: to establish a Kindred leadership based on more democratic (or at least egalitarian) principles than rule by eldest or by divine right. Neither Duquette nor Miss Opal has any delusions, though. Their positions simply aren’t strong enough to push for any sort of major change. For the time being they perform a balancing act, arguing and maneuvering to restrain the worst of Vidal’s excesses (as they see them), while never opposing him so strongly that he considers them actual enemies.
In the interim, they recruit, speaking often to young Kindred of all the covenants—and other factions besides Vidal’s when they can get away with it. They’ve actually succeeded in bolstering their numbers of late, though the overwhelming majority of new recruits comprises neonates, many of whom do not even dwell in New Orleans proper, but in the surrounding parishes and communities. The Anarchs also make a habit of playing intermediary, carrying messages between and working with multiple opposed parties, even hosting the occasional meeting between Vidal’s, Savoy’s and/or Baron Cimitiere’s representatives. By doing so, they hope to make themselves useful to all three factions. If they can maintain their position, they prevent any of the primary factions from turning against them, and have already proven themselves a valuable ally should one faction finally gain a true victory over the others.
Despite the young age of most Anarchs, the Movement may well be the oldest covenant in New Orleans. The Crescent City’s Firebrands trace their origins to the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, which was something of a renaissance for the Anarch spirit. Elders responded to their childer’s ideas of freedom and democracy with brutal crackdowns, prompting many neonates to flee to the New World. By the mid-18th century, however, few of the Anarchs in New Orleans were high-minded idealists: most of those were culled by the diablerists, poachers, bastard childer, Caitiff, and other dregs of the Old World who Europe’s elders were only too happy to see leave their cities. Accounts of this era in the Movement’s history remain spotty. The only still-extant Anarchs (and now elders in their own rights) who remember anything of the 18th century are Miss Opal and Smiling Jack, the former of whom parts with information as miserly as any Nosferatu, and the latter of whom is under blood hunt should he return to New Orelans.
The coming of Vidal in 1769 changed everything. A survivor of the original Anarch Revolt who had seen his sire and broodmates fall beneath Anarchs’ fangs, Vidal viewed the Firebrands’ ideology as a grave threat to his rule and wasted no time in stamping out its proponents. By 1815, the Prince’s forces had executed or driven out every Kindred who refused to acknowledge the Camarilla’s claim over New Orleans. The only known survivor of this purge was the Brujah Smiling Jack, an alleged former pirate who fled the city after swearing to see Vidal toppled from his new throne.
Of course, as Anarchs are fond of stating, no amount of oppression can kill an idea. The same circumstances that gave rise to Anarchs in the Old World inevitably repeated themselves in the New. Many of these early 19th century Anarchs were former slaves who saw the elder-dominated society of the Camarilla as little different from the oppression they suffered under their mortals owners, and the widespread belief among elders that Negroes were unworthy of the Embrace only further inflamed their ire. Nevertheless, Vidal’s hegemony was not so contested during the Antebellum as it is in the Modern Nights, and the heavy-handed Prince was able to turn his full resources towards squashing malcontents and dissenters. Donovan’s predecessor as Sheriff, the Ventrue Robert Bastien, became particularly reviled for his harsh treatment of black Anarchs.
No Firebrands are known to survived from the early 19th century save the Brujah Annie Pope. A former slave who was attracted to New Orleans by its large freed black community, Pope garnered substantial influence by co-opting (or according to some, inspiring) the local legend of Annie Christmas and establishing a tentative alliance with Baron Cimitiere. Still a relatively new arrival to the Crescent City, the Samedi hoped to sway Vidal’s attitude towards Vodoun (he knows far better now, of course), and was hesitant to support Pope too publicly lest the Prince come to associate Vodouisants and Anarchs as one and the same. This act would have significant repercussions for the Movement in the next century, but for the next few decades, Pope survived by keeping her head low and remaining hidden among the kine.
By the mid-19th century, further waves of Anarchs arose from the Irish and Italian immigrants who saw the hardship of their old lives repeated in the Camarilla’s social structure. Once again, Vidal and Bastien responded with harsh crackdowns, and once again, the Movement broke. 1848 represented the start of a new era for the Firebrands when a wave of revolutions swept Europe. Once again, the exiles and castoffs of the Old World fled to the New. This wave of (mortal) immigrants was known as the Forty-Niners, and many were intellectuals and educated men. One, Erwin Bornemann, was even Embraced into Clan Tremere and remains sympathetic towards the Anarchs to this night. (Indeed, some rumors even claim that his sire Elsbeth von Steinhausser bitterly fought New Orleans’ Brujah for the right to Embrace him.) Vidal viewed these political dissidents as far more dangerous than Negroes and uneducated immigrants, and banished many of the Kindred who accompanied or were Embraced from their ranks.
Coco Duquette’s arrival to New Orleans in 1856 would finally shift the hoary Prince’s attitudes. A veteran of France’s revolutions, Duquette believed violence was a fruitless means of bringing about change. The Parisian Brujah was willing to do something with Vidal that no other Anarch had previously considered: play by his rules. In accordance with the Fifth Tradition, Duquette formally presented herself before the Prince’s court and humbly requested his permission to reside in New Orleans. A surprised Vidal could find no reason to refuse. Indeed, being so accustomed to dealing with Anarchs through brute force, the Prince was sufficiently impressed that he granted Duquette a minor domain and feeding rights of her own in Esplanade Ridge. Though a beneficent gesture on Vidal’s part, it would also tie Duquette to the city’s social hierarchy, as she now had the same obligations towards the Regent of Esplanade Ridge (and thus Vidal by proxy) as any other Kindred who held domain within the district. This act would define much of the Anarchs’ future relationship with the Prince.
More to come…
No Krewe Affilitation
- Miss Opal, Nosferatu Primogen and co-Regent of Mid-City (Nosferatu, e. mid 18th century)
- Coco Duquette, Brujah Primogen and co-Regent of Mid-City (Brujah, e. late 18th century)
- Annie Pope (Brujah/Lancea et Sanctum, e. early 19th century)
- Micheal Kelly (Brujah, e. early 20th century)
- Pietro Silvestri (Toreador, e. early 20th century)
- Veronica Alsten-Pirrie, Harpy (Toreador, e. early 20th century)
- Bliss Jackson (Brujah, e. early 21st century)
- Cherry Nines (Gangrel, e. early 21st century)
- Milagrosa Arencibia (Brujah, e. early 21st century)
- Trent Ambrose (Toreador, e. early 21st century)
- Amaryllis Declair (Toreador, e. early 21st century)
- Christopher Guilbeau (Ventrue, e. early 21st century)
- Roderick Durant (Brujah, e. early 21st century)
Kindred Liberation Front
- Jonah Freeman (Brujah, e. mid 20th century)
- Maxzille Babinfeaux (Toreador, e. mid 20th century)
- Eris D. (Brujah, e. late 20th century)
- Jonas Griffiths (Gangrel/Ordo Dracul, e. late 20th century)
- Simon Jones (Caitiff, e. late 20th century)
- Amanda Morgan (Caitiff, e. mid 20th century)
- Dakota Torres (Caitiff, e. mid 20th century)
- Francis “Black Francis” Carver (Caitiff, e. late 20th century)
- Shep Jennings (Brujah, e. early 20th century)
- Desirae Wells (Caitiff, e. early 21st century)
- Marcio de la Cruz (Caitiff, e. early 21st century)
- Andrew Phillip (Gangrel, e. late 20th century)
- Arzilla Boudon (Nosferatu, e. late 20th century)
- Gerald Abellard (Nosferatu, e. late 20th century)
- Frank LaRue (Malkavian, e. early 21st century)