Richard Gullette is dead.
Joe’s Cozy Corner is long shuttered.
On January 31st 2017, Todd Price at the Times-Pic reported that the former Joe’s Cozy Corner in Treme is set to become a new Turkish cafe with Fatma Aydin on the range.
A throwaway line in the piece piqued our interest, “The club (Joe’s) eventually closed after its owner was convicted of killing a man illegally selling beer outside the bar.”
Our morning constitutional regularly takes us by an Upper 9th Ward home with a big fancy sign for Joe’s Cozy Corner in the yard, and we’ve always marveled at the whimsy.
On January 18th of 2004, Richard Gullette, a double amputee, was hawking beer on the street directly across from Joe’s Cozy Corner at the intersection of Ursuline and North Robertson. Treme was bustling as the funeral procession for Tuba Fats had just rolled nearby.
Joe’s Cozy Corner was no stranger to the violence that has plagued New Orleans for centuries. On June 30, 2000, Marlin Lawson was killed as he left the bar, and on December 29, 2002, Mark Cerf, a spyboy for the Yellow Pochahontas Mardi Gras Indians, was killed inside during a jazz show.
Papa Joe Glasper (b.February 4, 1941) proprietor of Joe’s Cozy Corner since 1992, left a bar filled with patrons to walk across the street and confront Gullette. The scene was an ugly one with Gullette saying “get back in the bar where you belong, old man.” Glasper walked back into his bar, tucked a pistol in his waistband and walked back outside to continue the beef.
Gullette punched Glasper in the head. Glasper responding by pulling the gun, and shooting and killing Gullette.
A jury convicted Glasper of manslaughter, he died in jail while awaiting sentencing. He was 64.
In an old interview I dug up with Glasper, prior to the shooting, he had this to say on ‘respect.’
“That’s what young people need today, baby. They need it bad, bad, bad. Otherwise, they’ll have one foot in the grave and the other in the penitentiary.”
In that same interview Papa Joe said (speaking on the civic realities of life in New Orleans) ” (citizens) feel that they are on their own, that especially in matters of personal defense, they must assume the primary responsibility”
He went on to add, speaking on those who would defy him “If I tell you to stop and you don’t, you’re gonna get an ass whuppin.”
After Glasper killed Gullette the city of New Orleans moved to revoke Joe’s Cozy Corner’s liquor license. Much consternation ensued with John Richardson, a jazz pianist and record producer from England saying “Joe’s is to jazz what Bethlehem is to Christianity”
Even Mayor Ray Nagin got involved: “When bars and lounges establish a pattern of lawlessness and become safe havens for criminal activity, we will shut them down,”
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