Until the generator fumes, hunger and a rap music marathon sapped his body and spirit, spilling Jonathan “Lloyd” Boover from his cypress perch, the Gentilly activist felt more at ease 30 feet above City Park than he seemed in a New Orleans courtroom last week.
Boover, 32, showed up at Municipal Court on Wednesday healed but visibly anxious about his trial on charges of criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.
The counts stem from his 12-day protest against tree removal for a 383-acre golf course slated to unfurl across a swath of City Park left untamed since Hurricane Katrina.
Boover was arrested after he fell from his tree on March 24 but before a trip to the hospital for treatment of a severely sprained ankle and broken nose.
Eleven weeks later, attorneys for the city and park came to court ill-prepared for his trial, failing to turn up a police report detailing the cause for Boover’s arrest.
It was unclear if such a report exists, despite a summons that refers to an attached police “gist,” said Boover’s attorney, Michael Kennedy. Anyway, Kennedy said, he hasn’t received it.
What city attorneys provided instead was an “inner office memorandum” from Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office.
The memo recounts Boover’s 11 a.m. drop, claiming he fell “as he attempted to wave to fellow protesters standing near the fence line of the construction site.”
“As Mr. Boover waved to the crowd, the makeshift swing/hammock Mr. Boover was sitting in overturned, causing Mr. Boover to fall from the tree,” the memo says.
Boover hoisted himself back up into the cypress tree to avoid arrest, but he then asked Sheriff’s Office Deputy Aaron Williams for medical help, according to the two-page account from Capt. Melvin Joseph Sr.
An EMS unit took Boover to Interim LSU Hospital. Later that evening, he was taken to Central Lockup before his release about 6:30 p.m., the memo states.
Deputy City Attorney Bernard Blair on Wednesday acknowledged the lack of a police report and asked for a continuance. Municipal Court Judge Sean Early set a new trial date of July 15.
Asked if he was proud of the protest action, the homeowner with a penchant for sleeping in trees replied: “A little bit. Mostly I’m stressed right now. I didn’t expect it to go this far.”
Boover and a few allies were protesting the plan for the Bayou Oaks Golf Complex, which they claim was inadequately vetted for environmental impacts and which they said stinks of financial boondoggle — allegations that park officials vehemently dismiss.
Kennedy described Boover as “overwhelmed” by the city’s push to prosecute him for “simply raising awareness of a valid issue. He was expressing his opinion as to keeping nature free.”
Boover said his ankle and nose have healed, but he still feels health effects from fumes produced by a generator set up to keep floodlights on him and from the exhaust of sheriff’s vehicles — a campaign he believes was aimed at wearing him down.
Contractors cut down the cypress the night Boover fell from it. He said he has no plans to find another nest.
“I decided against it,” he said. “I figure the point was made.”
Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.