Showdown in Desire
The Black Panthers Take a Stand in New Orleans
Orissa Arend
Foreword by Charles E. Jones, Introduction by Curtis J. Austin

A look back at a powerful moment in the Black Panther story

"Orissa Arend’s Showdown in Desire is a fascinating story that documents the history of the Black Panther party chapter in New Orleans. The author’s objective, which she accomplishes, is to allow former participants to tell the story of the New Orleans Panthers to provide a more holistic perspective of the party and the issues (racism, police brutality, and poverty) that it combated. In addition, the author tells this story to generate greater awareness of a post-Katrina New Orleans that is still ravaged by the same problems that the Panthers fought forty years ago. One of the standout features of this work is that Arend uses over twenty interviews to help tell the story of the New Orleans Panthers. Arend’s interviews range from former Panthers to high-ranking city officials to police officers (including two who infiltrated the party). Furthermore, the work fills a void in the historiography on the Black Panther party, as very few works examine southern chapters of the party."
Journal of American History, March 2010

“An illuminating look at the Black Panther Party’s history in New Orleans, the turbulent racial climate of New Orleans in the 1960s, and the founding of the local party, which was committed to challenging discriminatory white political-power structures.”

Through interviews with many individuals involved with the Black Panther Party in New Orleans in 1970, including Robert H. King, one of the Angola 3, Showdown in Desire tells the story of a year that included a shootout with the police on Piety Street, the creation of survival programs, and the daylong standoff between the panthers and the police in the Desire housing development.

original cloth edition


6 x 9, 294 pages, 31 photographs, index
$19.95 (s) paper
ISBN 978-1-55728-933-9

New! Now in audio!
$20.00 978-1-55728-956-8
Read by Rob Weiss for WRBH Radio for the Blind in New Orleans, this eight-hour audio version of Showdown in Desire also contains study questions especially suitable for high school or college classes and adult literacy programs.