Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Orleans Blowing Up

While my attention has been focused across the border in Mexico and here at home in Baltimore, New Orleans and Haiti have been suffering amid the sounds of gunshots.

Not too long ago I remarked that the murderous neglect that allowed the body count of Katrina to rise was eerily reminiscent of the response of the Haitian coup-installed government to the flooding of hurricane Jeanne not long before.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune now details a rash of killings in New Orleans that has left 9 dead since the start of the New Year. While every violent death is no doubt devastatingly tragic to the survivors, two have come to represent the profound loss amid the ruins of New Orleans.

The New Orleans Musician Relief Fund details in "A House Not Meant to Stand" the murder of Dinerral Shavers, a drummer with the Hot 8 Brass Band.

Dinerral was caught in the crossfire of a teen allegedly aiming for his stepson. He probably saved his family's life, driving away from the shooter and toward safety as he died. It took an hour for the ambulance to come as he lay in the street.
Police urged the NOMRF not to perform the traditional New Orleans jazz funeral march for Shavers,
Dinerral's second line will take place anyway because you can't wash away culture ingrained that deeply. It's his well-deserved last gig. But it's where gangs sometimes try to settle a grudge among the chaos.
In the Marigny neighborhood Helen Hill was killed in her home at about 6:00 AM and her husband Paul Gailiunas was shot in the neck while he held his two-year-old son. The Times-Picayune has more on the shooting and the couple's lives in New Orleans. Gailiunas is a physician who ran a Little Doctors Neighborhood Health Clinic in the Treme neighborhood that gave free and discounted medical care to those who could not otherwise afford to visit the doctor. He was also the founder of New Orleans Food Not Bombs, that took food from places like Whole Foods that would not be sold and prepared meals for the homeless. He also performed musically in an act called Ukulele Against the Machine.

A gunshop burglary in nearby Metaire has also been a source of concern. An arrest in that case has just been made.

No comments :