Just got back from two incredible weeks in New Orleans. I was going to post some of my observations from the trip back home here, but as I settled into Central Texas and then went back to work on Thursday, I was greeted with this news from the Times-Picayune:
At the time I heard about this senseless killing and assault, no names or information had yet been revealed. I was still angry over the senseless killing of Dinerral Shavers,drummer with the Hot 8 Brass Band.
But as I read the article, I got a sick feeling envisioning what sort of chaotic scene took place where a woman is killed in front of her two-year-old baby, and her husband barely escapes death. I have a three year old son and I could only imagine what he would go through if he lost Susan and/or I to murder that he witnessed.
When I found out who had been killed, I got even more angry….
First, my thoughts go out to the little two-year old son of Helen Hill and Dr. Paul Gailiunas. I hope your family and your parents’ friends are taking as best of care of you as they can in this terrible time. If anyone knows what I can do to help in this situation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, my thoughts go out to all of Helen and Paul’s friends and family, all of whom should have never experienced this senseless tragedy.
A number of numbing emotions are going through my mind right now. Nobody should experience this tragedy anywhere, but NOBODY SHOULD EXPERIENCE THIS AT ALL IN NEW ORLEANS—ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT ARE MAKING SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE REBUILDING OF THE CITY WE ALL LOVE AND CARE FOR.
I am pissed off—those who HAVE returned and ARE WORKING to make New Orleans a BETTER PLACE are the true Saints of the City. They sacrifice every single day in ways many of us who live in exile just don’t know about until we return home. They have made a commitment, though, to make significant contributions to creating a great place for community, neighborhood, the arts, children, education, small business, music, and culture—the things we all find important to the City of New Orleans. THESE PEOPLE MUST BE PROTECTED. THEY NEED THE RESPECT DUE TO THE BRAVERY OF NOT ONLY THEIR BEING IN NEW ORLEANS BUT THEIR COMMITMENT TO REBUILD.
RESPECT BY THE POLICE DEPARTMENT WHO SHOULD BE DOING THEIR JOBS TO PROTECT THEIR COMMUNITIES, PROPERTY, AND PERSONS.
RESPECT BY NAGIN AND THE COUNCIL TO DEMAND THAT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT EITHER DO THEIR JOBS OR GET THE RESOURCES TO DO THEIR JOBS.
This murder and this assault did not have to take place. I remember being back home in New Orleans in October 2005, cleaning out the house every day with others who had made the commitment to come back home. The National Guard, the NOLA-PD, hell, even the Orleans Sheriff’s Department—all drove down my street every single day more than once. At night, I never felt safer in New Orleans in my whole life. Those of us here then, and those of us here NOW, all shared a great sense of hope that our rebuilding efforts will create a better New Orleans. Helen and Paul exemplified that hope. Now, she is gone, her son is motherless, and I hope that Paul is able to cope with all the added efforts he faces in rebuilding his life with his son.
Letters? Yeah, letters are needed. But I’m calling for something deeper and more organized than that. We must begin working hard to hold these public officials accountable for their collective INACTION. I’m not sure what to do right now, but I am very open to ideas and getting in contact with people who want to help.
Again, my thoughts are with the friends and family of Helen Hill and Paul Gailiunas and their little two-year old son. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP.