In Which I Contest a Traffic Camera Ticket

Just got one of those camera tickets in the mail and decided to contest it. I’ve tried before, to no avail. This time (and in the spirit of the upcoming Harry Potter movie) I’ve opted for a different approach. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Notice # 0801100923607


Dear Officer Hartman,

I assume you are familiar with the wizarding world of Harry Potter. I also assume you are familiar with local mental healthcare facilities. Finally I assume that you are aware of the existence of temporary wormholes, or “rips” in the very fabric of space/time. Given these assumptions, along with the evidence below, I feel confident that you will agree that I am not at fault for Moving Violation #0801100923607.

On May 12 I was traveling south on Henry Clay Avenue. It was a balmy spring evening. Little did I know what was about to transpire. As I passed the intersection at Coliseum Street I was temporarily blinded by a flash of light. At first I naively assumed it was just from the recently installed speeding camera, a device of which I am a big fan. Imagine my shock to see a cluster of four hovering dementors blocking the road ahead of me:

In Which I Contest a Traffic Camera Ticket

Exhibit A-1

I quickly assessed the situation. To slow down or – worse – stop the vehicle would be madness. Nor could I swerve into the other lane for fear of oncoming traffic. Clearly, I only had but one choice. I floored it.


As I drove through the flock of dementors, the momentum carried me into the ball of light just beyond them. This was in fact a temporary, but stable, wormhole! Therein, I found myself bathed in a weird, unearthly glow, not unlike the Pink Floyd Laser shows they used to have out at the Planetarium. I was only in there for seven and a half seconds in “real-time”, but inside it felt like a good three hours. During that time I was able to ascertain the situation.


This was my conclusion:


As you know, this traffic camera is installed just outside of what we once referred to as an “Insane Asylum.” That term is no longer in vogue. They prefer to call them “treatment centers” now, but we all know what the score is.


The presence of dementors outside its walls was no coincidence. I submit to you that DePauls is Azkaban, the famous wizarding prison, concealed by multiple layers of Confundus charms, whose true location has never been fully disclosed by the Ministry of Magic. True, the prevailing school of thought is that Azkaban is on a rocky island. But the prevailing school of thought also had Osama bin Laden hiding in a remote cave, not next to the Applebee’s in downtown Abbottabad.


Placing Azkaban in the United States makes sense. Our cordial relations with the United Kingdom would facilitate extradition, while keeping wizarding threats far from British soil. And the wormhole? The Patronus charm is a wormhole, which explains its ability to summon the souls of dead protectors to watch over the living and defend them against dementor attacks. QED.


Of course, something extraordinary must have happened to cause those dementors to leave the grounds and make their presence known. Most likely, a high-profile practitioner of the Dark Arts has escaped and is at large Uptown. This could also explain what has happened to all the ducks in Audubon Park. Do you have Aurors on staff now? I would hope that was part of Ronnie Serpas’s new crime initiative.


But back to the matter at hand. Compare the time stamps on Exhibit 1-A to Exhibit 1-B, below:

In Which I Contest a Traffic Camera Ticket

Exhibit 1-B

As you can see, transport through the wormhole caused me to actually travel forward at a negative rate of speed, as I appeared thirty feet in front of myself seven and a half seconds before I left — a pretty neat trick!


Now comes the uncomfortable part: I feel that the City of New Orleans actually owes me money, not the other way around. I understand that your camera is not capable of processing this kind of situation. The back of my notice accounts for datum such as “1-9 mph over limit = $75 Civil Penalty”. It does not account for “Speed, while initially 6 mph over posted limit, when aggregated with stable wormhole travel due to dementor menace results in net negative forward speed = $75.00 Civil Credit.”


I accept either personal check or money orders. Be advised that should you pay with credit card, I will assign a small “convenience fee.”




Jay Forman


PS – should my Azkaban tip result in the arrest of a Death Eater, I expect to be eligible for the Crimestoppers reward.


Ed. Note: Renaissance Publishing and do not acknowledge the existence of dementors, wormholes or wizards in general, no matter how much we really, really wish they were real.

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