Archive for January, 2007

Confessions of a Bewildered Cynic

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I wanted to put down some thoughts on Monday’s Senate field hearing, something beyond the raw notes I posted, but I’m finding no clarity. On the most fundamental level, I’m simply unsure what I witnessed Monday morning. I saw powerful politicians in nice suits. They said a lot of things that sounded very reasonable. But […]

Field Hearing Notes

Monday, January 29th, 2007

I made it in to the Louisiana Supreme Court for the Senate field hearing, “Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Outstanding Need, Slow Progress.” Just getting in was an object lesson. First we (members of the publiuc) were shoved back out the door to wait in the cold, then we went through the obligatory metal detectors, then […]

Don’t Believe the Hype

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Front page of the paper this morning: Warren Riley’s mug and the headline, “Officials say city making headway against crime.” Apparently the superintendent and the mayor had a press conference on Friday to “reassure” us. I don’t feel reassured, and here’s why. From the article: At the news conference, evidence and numbers detailing any success […]

Field Hearing

Friday, January 26th, 2007

I am planning to take the day off work and attend the field hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which is being held here in New Orleans on Monday. The title of the hearing is “Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Outstanding Need, Slow Progress.” Details and discussion here. I will […]

Jazz Funeral for Helen Hill

Friday, January 26th, 2007

This just in from Kittee: Hey, ya’ll! We’re gonna do Helen up right with a big old jazz funeral in New Orleans. Can you believe it? The procession starts at Paul and Helen’s old place at 3438 Cleveland St. on Saturday, February 24. The procession forms at 12:30 p.m. and rolls at 1:00 p.m. sharp. […]

Paul’s Plea

Friday, January 26th, 2007

I haven’t talked to Paul since he left New Orleans. I saw him only briefly in the lobby of the hotel by the airport, the night after Helen was killed. For the first time in my life I was literally at a loss for words. I just couldn’t think of a thing to say. So, […]

N.O. Love Left

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

I remember a strange feeling as I lay down to sleep on the first few nights of this new year. I had a nice break over the holidays. My parents visited. We caught up with friends. I survived the worst hangover ever. And a strange feeling came over me. I’m not sure what that feeling […]

Shame on You, President Bush

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Not a mention, not even a word. In last night’s State of the Union address, President Bush talked about all manner of subjects, but he didn’t have a thing to say regarding the devastated Gulf Coast region or the slow pace of recovery in New Orleans. I’m not really surprised. It’s kind of like getting […]

Sound of Sirens

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems that I’ve been hearing sirens constantly the last couple weeks. I think it started just after the press conference Nagin held two days before the march on City Hall. Did they instruct cops to run their sirens more often? It doesn’t make me feel any safer.

Confessions of a Football Skeptic

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

I was born around the time of the very first Superbowl, and my parents named me after a star player on the Green Bay Packers. Yet for 40 years our nation’s most popular sport has remained a mystery to me. I never understood the game of football. I never wanted to understand it. I was […]

Like It or Not

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Like it or not — and I don’t like it, not one bit — I seem to have become some kind of spokesperson on the subject of violent crime. I didn’t ask for this, I don’t relish it, and I’m not prepared for it. Indeed the very prospect makes my stomach churn. Violent crime is […]

Blood & Ink

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Monday’s Times-Picayune carried a story in the Metro section about a young man named Chivas Doyle. He just turned 24 last week. He was attending Delgado Community College. He was a practical joker. Everyone called him Tank because he was 7′ tall. He was found dead in his FEMA trailer in the Upper Ninth Ward, […]

“Every Man a King”

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Huey Long’s populist message for the people of Louisiana was “Every Man a King.” Wouldn’t it be something if we updated that to the idea that every man, woman and child in these parts should emulate Martin Luther King? King was a great American philosopher, perhaps the greatest. It pains me to realize how little […]

Bring the Rage

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

It is truly humbling to serve as a vessel for community outrage. The speech I gave Thursday — that wasn’t me. That was y’all. I was just channeling. I had a double duty that weighed heavily on me. I spoke on behalf of the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, and also as a friend of Helen Hill‘s. […]


Thursday, January 11th, 2007

I’m speaking at today’s march for five minutes, a task for which I feel utterly inadequate. I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts. Here’s what I’m planning to say: Helen Hill was a close personal friend of mine, and her murder affected me deeply. Helen’s funeral took place yesterday in South Carolina, and today we’re […]

Funeral, March

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Today they’re burying Helen in Columbia, South Carolina. Tomorrow we march on City Hall in New Orleans. I’m not attending the funeral. I’m not sure why. I felt like I should go, but I didn’t. I will be at the march tomorrow. But we’re not marching just for Helen Hill. We’re marching for Dinerral Shavers. […]

How I Feel

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

I’m So Sorry, Francis

Monday, January 8th, 2007

What do you say to a child who’s lost his mother to a brutal and senseless act of violence? Somehow “I’m sorry” sounds so inadequate. I’m sorry, Francis, that you will grow up knowing your mother only as a memory. You’ll grow up hearing what a “saint” she was, what an “angel” she was. So […]

A Wounded Hero Departs

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Dr. Paul Gailiunas has been my hero ever since I met him — what, five years ago? It seems like I’ve known him forever. He’s the only punk rock anarchist vegan doctor I’ve ever known. But he is a hero for how he’s lived his life, dedicating himself to helping the poor, the hungry, the […]

Helen Hill Will Not Be Forgotten

Friday, January 5th, 2007

Yesterday morning a friend of mine was murdered. Those are some words I never wanted to type, never thought I would type, words I still can’t really believe. If you ever met Helen, she was a friend of yours too. I believe she befriended everyone she met. If you never met her, well, now you […]