One Year Later

January 11th, 2008 by Editor B

A year ago I gave a speech.

Sadly enough, I could give that speech again today. Not much has changed.

I would have to strike the reference to District Attorney Eddie Jordan — he’s gone. I would lose the line calling for more cops. But other than that, I stand by what I said a year ago, and I’d say it again.

Not much has changed. But really, I didn’t expect much would in just a year. We need deep and lasting change, and that won’t happen quickly.

If you think a march and a rally and some speeches could change a city overnight, or even over twelve months — well, that would be very na├»ve.

We didn’t march because we nourished some fantasy of sudden transformation. We marched because we were angry and afraid and ashamed. We marched out of an anguish we couldn’t bear alone, so we had to come together for a communal outpouring.

Not much has changed. But there have been some slender shreds of progress.

A year ago, I went to City Hall with thousands of fellow New Orleanians. Today, I went there with a few dozen.

It was one of those New Orleans days where it’s warm in the sunlight but bone-chilling cold in the shade, and City Hall casts a might big shadow.

I didn’t speak. I was a spectator. I watched and listened as Silence Is Violence held a press conference.

Press Conference

They read the names of all the people who have been murdered since January 11, 2007. Different people took turns reading. Everybody read the name of the victim (if known) and their age (if known). Some people read the method of murder too: “John Doe, 25, shot.”

Almost all the victims had been shot.

Jake Speaks

Then Nakita Shavers spoke, and Baty Landis, and Jake Hill, and Ken Foster. All the speakers were interesting, but Baty’s remarks got at the burning question: What progress has been made?

As I said, not much, but Baty highlighted the bright spots while acknowledging the challenges. She was polite and circumspect. She cited a number of public officials who had earned some respect by listening to the concerns of citizens.

Nagin was notable by his absence, both from the press conference and from Baty’s remarks. I heard from Leigh that he was giving a talk about sidewalk repair in the Quarter.

Afterward a guy with a sign that said TRUST JESUS started ranting/preaching while they were continued to read off the 200+ names of murder victims. It was quite disruptive and disrespectful and it just made me want to leave, so I did. As I got on my bike I looked back and saw Jake and some other guy had gotten the TRUST JESUS dude to quiet down. Good for them.

I rode home and painted some baseboards and trim.

6 Responses to “One Year Later”

  1. Marion Says:

    Why does the guy with the Jesus sign always have to “kick” the door down?

  2. We Remember You « Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans Says:

    […] to the bloggers who also came to City Hall and those who also wrote about this on the anniversay: Bart of B.Rox who was a friend of Helen Hill’s, Leigh of Liprap’s Lament, Karen of Northwest […]

  3. David Says:

    That really makes me sad, every bit of it.

    In Toronto last year there were 87 murders. The city is ten times the size of New Orleans. What’s strange is, based on the local media coverage, it feels like the murder rate is no different than New Orleans’. Michael Moore hit on this in “Bowling for Columbine,” the media’s ginning up unnecessary fear. It’s definitely happening here.

    Still, I miss New Orleans and all the people. I wish there was something I could do.

  4. Cade Roux Says:

    I saw the other Trust Jesus guy at 8:00 am on the corner of Gravier and Baronne – so they had been downtown all morning.

    Seems terribly un-Christian to shout at people and disturb civil discourse. I guess they’re going to hell.

  5. kittee Says:

    Baty’s speech made both me and Dazee upset, it actually really pissed me off and made me want to leave the ceremony. I don’t see or feel the change she spoke about, and I don’t really feel like being positive about the crime in NOLA since it’s getting worse, not better.

    xo
    kittee

  6. SocialGumbo » Blog Archive » Computers and Writing: Lessons in Literacy from the New Orleans Blogosphere and the Composition Classroom Says:

    […] of being neglected, misunderstood, and misrepresented. They use their blogs to share their painful memories and their daily triumphs. Building on the trust quotient their virtual community has established, […]

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