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The victim was never publicly identified December 27, 2013

Posted by The Typist in Crime, Memory, Murder, New Orleans, NOLA, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I don’t know how many times I have typed those words in the last 24 hours, but it is far too often. After neglecting my memorial lists for murder victims, I set out to complete the 2012 list and the 2013 list before New Years, resolved to start up again fresh come January. I get my information from the NOLA.COM murder map which ties back to stories on NOLA.COM tagged “new-orleans-murders”. When I started the list in 2010 the victims were almost always later identified by the coroner and reported by NOLA.COM. That continue through 2011. But as I began to catch up from mid-year 2012, I increasingly found no corresponding story of the unidentified victims, and then often much later when a suspect was identified or arrested. I fear when I count up my entries for 2013 I will find that the stories on NOLA.COM do not tally to the number in the sidebar of the Crime page. My memorial has become as much a catalog of murders as a memorial to victims, and says as much about the death of the Times-Picayune as it does about the people who fall on the streets of New Orleans.

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Traveling with the Dead March 19, 2013

Posted by The Typist in Crime, cryptical envelopment, je me souviens, Murder, New Orleans, Remember, Toulouse Street.
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This comment posted day before yesterday explains why I haven’t been posting but instead trying, in my limited time to blog, to finish my list of the dead of 2012.

“My Love, My Soulmate, My Hubby….
*Arthur Jackson* 05/08/78-07/01/07

It’s been 5yrs and it feels like yesterday…some days are better than others, but the pain remains…I’ve know this man since 1st grade, we attended elementary & high school together….He was my friend,soulmate,my LIFE…Our kids miss him so much, I wish he was here to mentor,guide, his boys(2) or see his daughter as she blossoms into a beautiful,bright,intelligent, young lady….although he died during his 2nd surgery it was still a result of gun violence…this type of savagery has claimed the ives of so many of Nola’s fathers, my youngest son’s kindergarten class had 6 kids including my son whose dad was killed…my really goes out to the kids, because they’re the ones whose really suffering….this has to STOP, just the thought of some poor child being told they’re dad is DEAD, gone foever and haing to endure the pain on their face, (as I recall my kids experience) breaks my heart….PEACE*”

The Bloody Hanktons October 19, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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The murder of the brother of a witness in the murder trail of Gert Town crime scourge Telly Hankton led to another rush to the pages on the blog where there names were mentioned. It all began when I listed his Uncle George in my annual collection of the names of the murdered. That crime begat a retaliatory killing that eventually led to Hankton’s conviction in the murder of Darrell Stewart, whom Telly and his uncle Andres suspected in the killing of Andre’s brother George. It was that first listing, a follow up note in the next year’s list and finally this post which included the notes from the NOLA.Com crime reports that Telly and Andre were wanted in connection with Stewart’s death, that have made the name Hankton one of the most popular search terms bringing people to Toulouse Street.

It’s not the spikes that occur around news events like yesterday’s on the witness killing that give me the shivers but the routine visits I get week in and week out, wondering if members of the Hankton gang sometimes surf the Internet looking for their notices like a gang of actors waiting in a cafe for the morning papers. It is one thing for someone in a comfortable suburb to watch David Simon’s The Wire and feel a safe and guilty satisfaction when Omar Little and Brother Mouzone gun down Stringer Bell, to understand the Bushido beauty of the moment when Bodie refuses to abandon his corner. It is another thing entirely to see the frequent Hankton searches when you live in a city overrun by men with guns who have had their own funerals carefully planned since they were fourteen.

Rampart Street Blues April 23, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Crime, French Quarter, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Late night is quiet on Rampart Street, unlike its distant cousin Bourbon with its drunken river of tourists, barkers and throbbing cover bands. The street has a half abandoned air, with as many dark facades and For Lease signs as there are bars. There is a subtle thrum of dance music from The Ninth Circle but with a name like that I suspect business hasn’t really started at eleven. The talk and laughter from the Voodoo Lounge just barely carries across the street , unintelligible as birdsong and just as comforting, a reminder that you’re not alone on the dark side of the Quarter.

I walk cautiously out of long habit learned when I lived in Treme in the 1300 block of Esplanade and would amble home late at night down the well beaten neutral ground path we all called the DMZ. That was BC—before crack—when walking head up and mostly sober was usually protection enough, before the Clockwork Orange horror of 21st century midnight city streets. I park on Rampart almost every Thursday night and feel more comfortable each time, less likely to bristle like a cat at the sight of a lone Black man approaching on the sidewalk on the lake side of the street but the old New Orleans habits die hard. I remember the genteel way my grandmother said “nigrah”, warning me that if she put too much coffee in my child’s café au lait I would turn dark and wonder if its ever possible to escape completely something bound so tightly in the limbic brain however good one’s intentions.

The gap-toothed marquee arch over the padlocked Armstrong Park merely amplifies the darkness of the abandonment behind the gates, adds a graveyard sense of menace to the lake side where I park but at the same time I am reminded that centuries past the African slaves gathered in what was once Congo Square the place became sacred to the ancestors and the loa and suddenly the darkness is not threatening but a presence watching over me with no particular intent. I murmur my own ancestors’ names like telling the beads of the rosary and feel a bit safer.

Two young women are coming up the sidewalk and their conversation quiets as we pass, looking at me askance as if to ask: do I belong here? Am I a lost tourist? Most white pedestrians keep to the river side of Rampart, but my car is just up the block. Behind them comes a young man alone, walking slowly up toward Canal or perhaps Iberville. Reflexively I cut between two cars and walk up the street toward my own car, parked a half-dozen spots ahead, pressing the remote to unlock the car and turn on the interior and headlights.. I keep an eye on him until I would have to turn my head, then wait a beat for him to pass before I turn my head. He is still walking, paying me no real attention.

I don’t feel especially nervous. My caution is ingrained, part the training of decades living here and in Washington, D.C. at the height of the crack wars, in a block where three people died late at night just coming and going as I am. I think of my grandmother again, of her maid Sylvia shared with my mother—one of the only black people I knew growing up along with Jo Jo my father’s handyman, a perfect match for the character in The Green Mile who I revered like a Hindu demon in overalls. Sylvia was invited to my sister’s weddings, but not the receptions.

I think of the friends I still know from the lakefront, the one’s who harassed me when my sister enlisted me as a young boy to drop literature and hammer signs for Moon “The Coon” Landrieu as he was known for being the first white politician to reach out for the Black vote, friends who still wear the casual racism of the lakefront like a comfortable old Saint’s jersey. Do I belong here, on this bock of Rampart halfway between Treme and Iberville? I believe I do, envying the comfort with which the Treme character Davis McCalary carries himself through the Treme, wishing some bit of the innocence of youth with which I would search for lost cats in the blocks behind my house on Esplanade, an innocence lost in part on the streets of D.C. where police helicopters would hover over the house lighting the alleys in back, the small yard from which I would occasionally hear the crescendo and diminuendo pop pop pop of gun battles.

I remember the young boy who walked in front of my car at the suburban shopping center at Elmwood one day, forcing me to stand on my breaks. He stepped into road mindless of the cross walk a short ways up and stopped, turned and glared at me as his mother and sisters passed. His body was tensed as if to spring, his eyes not angry or hateful but dead, with no discernible light in them. He was perhaps ten. And I wonder if innocence is something we have all lost.

As I sit in my car lighting a cigarette with all these thoughts passing through my mind I think again about the spirits of Congo Square, wonder which of the sainted loa I should beseech to purge me of the dark past of my own ancestors, the French planter refugees from the Haitian slave revolt, the German farmer who with two enslaved was probably thought a prosperous man by his neighbors, the great-great uncle who once owned a plantation in Plaquemines and lorded over his fields on a black stallion my mother was forbidden to ride and so took particular delight when taken up to the front of his saddle, the living memory of white women screaming at young black children in the ninth ward and all the baggage of desegregation, the palpable racism of my own youth in the early Nineteen Sixties.

What will it take, I ask, to finally cast off the last threads of white sheets of my own ancestors for something like the white robes of baptism? In which river must I immerse myself to step out born again as nothing but a child of God, a child of New Orleans? The street, the answer comes from somewhere. That river is this sidewalk, its people the living waters. Next time, I tell myself, I will not cross into the street but stay on the sidewalk and whoever comes and I will pass as two children of God in a new covenant that breaks the seventh generation curse, just two men passing each other on the streets of New Orleans, the place we both belong.

Silence is Violence 2010 January 11, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Crime, je me souviens, Murder, Remember, The Dead, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I began listing the murder victims of New Orleans from 2007 in early 2008, partly because I could not make a Silence is Violence march. I did it again the following year because of the number of people I discovered go searching for their loved ones (I hope, and not gloating over their victims). I didn’t do this last year because I started a writing project (unfinished) called Murder Ballads instead, but I feel bad I did not post a list last year. Since NOLA.com now has a database of murder victims with links to the news stories on that site, I may go back and do 2009, but for now, here are the victims of 2010.

I have copied liberally from NOLA.com, giving more detail than I have in the past.

What I wrote in a piece about one victim still about sums up the reason for this exercise best:

Everyone person on that list, even if they had gone down that dark path and died with a handgun in their waste band and an empty look in their eyes, all of them were once as Chanel once was, as my own children once were: as innocent as a lamb in the lap of Jesus.

The list is long so I’ve placed it on a page here.

I Dreamed I Saw Ms. Hill Last Night January 4, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Crime, je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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This morning’s reading assignment: get thee to Billy Southern’s Imprefectly Vertical blog and read the entry Helen Hill, You Are Missed.

I have not done a lick of work over my holiday escape from the Counting House on my annual list of the victims of murder in New Orleans, instead working on a long poem titled Murder Ballads, but I plan to get the list together and up here soon. (Bad luck, I know, to speak of the unwritten or the unfinished.) Until either of my own bits of handicraft on the subject are done Southern’s piece from the New York Times, originally published under the headline Taken By the Tide, will have to stand (admirably) in their place.

Je me souviens.

Remembering Carmen October 2, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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The latest shootings were almost a week ago, last Saturday. In the quiet days since the newspaper is full of stories of the person who tossed some kittens out of the window of their car on the Causeway bridge. Today there is mention of a reward for information on who did this. There is no reward mentioned in the paper for the killers of last Saturday’s three dead.

When it’s quiet like this its easy to forget that we live in a city where more people died by murder in 2008 than there were casualties in Afghanistan that year. Easy to forget for most, but not for me: every time I check my blog stats I see the number of people who have visited the posts in which I list all of the victims of the last two years.

Just yesterday I had 26 visits searching for Carmen Leona Reese, who died of two bullets to her chest last October 15. A bit of the story of the crime is told in New Orleans Magazine in a story titled Violent Night.* It’s more a tale of the frustrations of the homicide detectives than of the victims but it gives a thumbnail sketch of Carmen’s life shortly before she died. It doesn’t tell the story of how she came to New Orleans, or lost contact with her mother and step-father in Houston.

There are hints in the magazine piece and a few other odd places of a falling out, of some stress related to her mother and step-father’s deployments to Iraq. We do not learn what happened to her natural father. One immediately thinks of the tales we have heard of the rootless lives of Army brats. All we learn from the magazine is that somehow she arrived in New Orleans, fell into stripping and possibly prostitution in the French Quarter, and that her life ended in sex and death. She was only 18 at the time, just a year older than my daughter.

There is a picture of Carmon on the Internet, a pretty girl with curly hair and carefully plucked brows. She has a smile I might describe as wry if I saw it in my daughter’s year book, her head cocked with a you-must-be-kidding-me expression, her eyes coquettishly half closed. Or as if she were high. Looking at her face, she was certainly attractive enough to find work in the strip clubs that pander to the tourists who come to the Quarter for the casual sleaze of big ass beers and nearly naked young women.

The magazine piece tells of the detectives’ search to learn her identity, how they took pictures of her face and of her tattoos. As they search tattoo parlors and sleazy Quarter bars they find nothing. A guy at the first tattoo parlor they call on says her tattoos are homemade crap. They finally get an ID on Leona, and begin to look into her background for evidence that might help convict their suspect, who tossed Carmen into the weeds behind his trailer and left a bloody mattress cover and t-shirt in the trash can right outside his door.

They locate the club where she worked and talk to one of the girls there. She tells them Carmen was a good girl but was in some kind of trouble. ““She bounced around real bad. She was in a bad predicament”. They are trying to find the hotel where she was living, after learning from a friend in Nebraska who spoke with her a day before she died that she always kept a journal

The magazine story just sort of peters out there without resolving Carmen’s story, moving onto instead another murder, another day in the life of the homicide squad. You can almost her the Law & Order chime. The piece is meant as a verite’ snapshot staring the detectives. The victims and perpetrators are just bit players. Perhaps the free-lance true crime writer credited with the story figured out how to meet his word quota without the rest of the tale.

Maybe Carmen was not a part of the assignment. She wouldn’t interest the subscribers to New Orleans Magazine, who would rather read about a new restaurant or browse the ads for the boutiques of Magazine Street. She is just a stock character in this tale. There is just enough in the story to make it interesting, to titillate and satisfy their readers just as the club girls are just naked enough to satisfy the drunks. If those readers, hurrying to dinner in the quarter, ever notice the girls huddled around a club door trying to lure in customers it is just another part of scene, a distraction just barely more tolerable than the smell of rotten garbage and stale beer.

I don’t know how Carmen’s mother deals with this story, the one the detectives said telling her was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life,” the story of the fall before her daughter’s death. I only know that her mother grieves publicly on a blog with a handful of messages written to her daughter [all errors in the quote sic].

I know you were being a rebellious teen, but I know I also bear some responsibility for you actions. Telling you I am sorry that I failed in some respects will do nothing. You can’t hear me and now you are gone… Today, I’m supposed to go “talk” to someone about what’s been going on with me. What no one understands is that nothing seems to be going. My life seems to be stalled without you. I have a basic I don’t give a crap attitude. I hate it but it seems sometimes to take it a life of its own. Your brother will be here soon. I sure hope I can get my crap together before he arrives. He don’t know how much I need him. I don’t want to smother him. I think he already tries to make up for you not benig here. I’m sorry I have made him feel that way.
I will write more later. I can’t wait to see you and hear your voice. I know I will have to wait………how long? I don’t know. No matter the length of time, it has already been too long. My life is just going on, basically without me…without you. I still cannot understand how life can continue without you. Well in truth it’s time going on not life… I love you Carmen. My Carmen, I dreamed of you before you existed. Love mom.

What concern of mine is Carmen? Why do I publish the lists of the dead, the mostly low-life victims? Why do check the blog stats page for links into those posts and the Internet searches that bring them in? I wonder why I plucked the story of another young girl named Chanel Sanchell? The local newspaper story doesn’t tell us much about Chanel either, what lead her out of her house that night with someone her family didnt’ know who came to the door looking for her. All I know is here in New Orleans there are too many golems with guns, soulless shells who will take a life without much more thought than to take out and light a cigarette, and they move through the life of the streets like sharks through schools of fish, predators and prey trapped together in the currents of only place they know to live.

I remember what I wrote about Chanel and it applies to Carmen as well. Whatever lead them out into the night with a stranger, a night that ended with a gunshot, both were once small children not much different than my own, as innocent as lambs in the lap of Sunday school Jesus. If their deaths cease to matter to you, matters no more than the condition of the bad schools your children didn’t attend or the trouble on streets you never cross; if the broken families of people who pulled two or three tours in Iraq don’t bother you then consider this:

The next time you see some kid on the corner eyeballing you at the stoplight, the one in the chee-wee haircut with the long white t-shirt, don’t avoid his gaze. Look straight back at him. If that bulge at his waist looks like it might be a gun don’t turn away or run the light. Look hard, as if into a mirror at your own cold and soulless reflection in his eyes.

* New Orleans Magazine does not allow links to their online publication, which raises the question why someone who so little understands the fundamental premise of what the w-w-w in a url stands for, the world wide web of links. So I guess you will just have to type all of this into your browser so that I can avoid violating their requirement by including a working link. If this translates into a link in your browser, that’s not my fault: http://www.myneworleans.com/New-Orleans-Magazine/December-2007/Violent-Night/

Minor Update: Fixed a few tipos. Someday I will have an editor, who will fix my tipos and buy me lunch every now and then. Apply within.

Hanktons and McCoys July 8, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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The single largest group of people who wander into Toulouse Street come looking for one of the victims of murder I have listed in a post the last two years. And the name that has continued to pop up constantly over the last two years is George Hankton, who was murdered on a bloody weekend in December, 2007.

Here is an excerpt from the 2008 list:

May 13: Darnell P. Stewart, 23
3400 block of South Claiborne Avenue – Central City –
Suspect Andre Hankton
Suspect Telly Hankton
I left the suspect note from NOLA.Com on this one. Please see my past post about George Hankton, one of the most searched names leading to last year’s post. I hope this wasn’t a retaliation killing.

George Hankton came up in this post from May 2008, when I was already wondering if there was some link between all the Hankton visits I got. Turns out I was right.

The good new in that story is that on July 6 “Hankton, described as one of New Orleans’ most dangerous criminals, turns himself in to police.” Then today’s paper tell us that the murder victim in New Orleans this past weekend was a witness to one of Hankton’s murder charges.”

The recent stories ignore the whereabouts of his brother Andre Hankton. He was arrested last May not long after the murder of Darnell P. Stewart. I hope to hell he’s not out on bail.

I have never had a good feeling seeing all those Hankton searches hitting Toulouse Street, and tonight I will feel compelled to look and look again, and wonder if Andre Hankton or one of the brothers’ friends is sitting in front of a computer tonight Googling his notices in the never ending last act of this tragedy where we keep piling up the bodies and the curtain never falls.

Silence is Violence July 8, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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“And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.” — Audie Lorde

Orleans jurors deadlock after victim fails to ID assailant

“…[Nigel] Daggs, the police detective, testified that in the nation’s most murderous city, this corner of Hollygrove doesn’t produce eyewitnesses to shootings.

“People in that neighborhood are very frightened and very scared of individuals who live in that neighborhood,” Daggs said. “They spoke to us but they aren’t willing to give their names.”

The Brydum Tandem Project February 2, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, satire, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Members of the Iron Rail, an anarchist collective bookstore in the Marigny, are organizing a volunteer escort service called The Brydum Tandem Project for people who need assistance or just someone to help them get home safely in the Marigy and Bywater area.
Details here.

Given recent murder victim and fellow Anarchist Kirsten Brydum’s political leanings, I think this is an excellent memorial. More importantly, it is a valuable demonstration of how citizens who feel they cannot rely on the police for protection find ways to make themselves safer on their own.

Robberies and muggings in the areas below Esplanade have always been a problem,with criminals treating the large number of service industry employees traveling home with tips in their pockets as walking ATM machines, and the Fifth Police District is proving one of the most demoralized and least effective in the city. At least, they don’t appear to give a crap about the people who live in Bywater and St. Roch.

To volunteer, please email btpnola@gmail.com or call 504-259-4670.
I wonder about some of these punk/anarchists kids who come down here with stars in their eyes and wander about our dangerous city with a misplaced Rousseauian view of people. (See my remarks about the lumpen proletariat in mt last Byrum post). This initiative shows they have some sense about them.

What’s Odd about this is a conversation I had with someone Saturday night. We were discussing where to send their rising kindergartner for first grade. After we talked through the craziness of our fractured, semi-public school system, and agreed that while it was crazy, it couldn’t be worse than what was there before, I found myself wondering aloud: why stop at the schools?

Why not just disband city government entirely and replace it with some sort of syndicalist co-ops? It’s not as if City government works in any recognizable way. Before you think I’ve fallen off my rocker, I’ve lived places where the only fire department (and EMS service) was a volunteer department.

Why not just keep going and let me hire my own cops? Oh, wait, we just did that in the Mid-City NOPD Private Detail Shakedown, uh, I mean Mid-City Security District. We can contract out the incarceration, prosecution and jailing to whoever is the low bidder, and put convicted prisoners back to work doing something useful like fixing the streets. Isn’t this the Reagan dream? Does it get any more giant-car-dealer-flag Patriotic that this?

Why can’t we just start patching our own streets and replacing our own burnt-out street lamps? Asphalt patch is easy enough, and I’m sure I can borrow a ladder. And hell, I can pick my own garbage contractor based on best price, or start my own service. The cost couldn’t possibly be worse than what the city has negotiated.

As soon as I get the Sewerage & Water Board part figured out in a way that does not involve installing a cistern and dumping chamber pots in the streets, I’ll be calling an Urgent Torchlight Meeting on the subject. But first I have to find that old Bakunin t-shirt I had in the 70s.

If this post seems to be veering into sarcastic snark, I didn’t originally intend it that way. I have lived places where services like fire protection were staffed by volunteers. I’m already paying a premium to guarantee some of the finite number of police officers spend more time in my neighborhood (instead of yours; this is a Very Bad idea, as least as it exists today).

If we’re going to dismantle the completely dysfunctional public school system, why not have a full and frank discussion about how to do the same to city government?

Until we get to the One Big Union, I want to remind people with time and bicycles they can volunteer for the Brydum Tandem program by contacting btpnola@gmail.com or calling (985) 628-1330. This really strikes me as a good Syndicalist sort of idea (compared to, say, throwing stink bombs into fast food restaurants at international economics meetings).

Joe Hill would be proud.

Later: updated phone number per a comment.

My Baby Doll January 26, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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killiandoll
No, not the Madame Alexander from MaMere in her lap; my baby doll is that little girl who today turns 17, my daughter Killian. Looking at this picture you can see we had not finished unpacking the boxes in the background after ur evacuation of Washington, DC to the suburbs of Arlington, VA. When we moved out we left behind us a neighborhood where three people had died in close proximity to our house, where not just sporadic gun fire but gun battles following the popping pattern of a pan of jiffy pop were a routine occurrence, where the helicopters of the DCPD would hover over our block with their powerful searchlights.

It was not a good place for my wife and small daughter to be home alone all day, or a comfortable place to lay our heads down at night.

Today she is a 17 year old young woman living in a city not much different than the one we fled almost 20 years ago. I want her to be safe as much today as when this picture was taken, as much as I will when I am very old and she has children of her own. And I want her to be able to stay in her adopted home of New Orleans, where outside of the inescapable hazards of teenage life she is genuinely happy with a large circle of friends, where she relishes Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest and Voodoo and hanging at the Fly.

I do not want to have to retreat, again. I will not uproot my family again. But she must be safe, as my wife and my 13-year old son must be safe. A long time ago I wrote that all I wanted for Christmas was New Orleans. On this birthday, what I want to give my daughter is a New Orleans she can enjoy without fear, free of the dangers on the mean streets. I have to find a way.

Been Down So Long January 25, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Crime, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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In my own country I am in a far-off land
I am strong but have no force or power
I win all yet remain a loser
At break of day I say goodnight
When I lie down I have a great fear
Of falling.

— François Villon

This poem opens Hunter S. Thompon’s HELL’S (Hells) ANGELS – The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. The violence, the criminality tied to drugs, the pride in their pack trumping all ties to the mainstream culture they dropped out of of, of if you prefer which left them behind.

If you think it all sounds familiar, it is. Substitute any ward of New Orleans for the colors and you are there. The only unique thing about our city is how wide and deep this current runs.

Why did those young men of the 1950s and 1960s become Hells Angels? Perhaps if I were getting paid for this, I would take a couple of hours and skim the book and see what sort of sociological spelunking Thompson did, but I recall none of any depth.

What I do know, and do not require a degree in sociology to understand, is what is happening all around us in New Orleans. It is as simple as people who never give up against those who simply give up hope. It will sound like a sentimental excuse, but its a simple fact: we are living with the product of the second and third generation of people who have given up. I bookmarked a story a while back from the New York Times story Many Children Lack Stability Long After Storm, in which I found this quote from one of the people of Renaissance Village, an isolated collection of poisonous FEMA trailers on a gravel lot in the middle of no where:

Jermaine’s father, Joseph Griffin, has had trouble holding on to steady work and said he did not see much value in his son’s attending school this semester because he had already missed so much class. “If he doesn’t get no credits for it, what sense does it make for him to sit up in there?” Mr. Griffin said. “I was going to try to get him a job.”

If dad can’t find a steady job, what luck for the son the high school dropout? If the schools and the streets are a dead end, where else is there to go? If you’re not churched or your church itself has bought into the victim myth of no responsibility (how else to explain the phalanx of ministers who endorsed disgraced Rep. William Jefferson), where then do you get some guidance and strength to find a way out? That leaves parents, but even in the NYT story of a household with two parents, if the parents have already given up what can we expect of the children?

The same hollow eyes and gunman swagger you see in Somali pirates on the evening news, that’s what you can expect when culture and government and all of the things that make a civilization start to break down, and people just give up and do what they have to do to survive. And when the parents have given up, when they accept the street as the way it is, you start down the road that turns out the young men who jack ships off East Afraica and who stalk our own streets.

This Happens All Over, Cliff remind us. Yes it does, and Cliff’s answer the is real answer, but who the hell is ready for that intervention? How are we to convince the mothers with kids going down the slide to hell to step up and make a difference? Like that dad above, they don’t see the way out. It seems to be for them just the way things are. We are left considering the mother’s who turn in their children, sending them to prison for the rest of their lives. A heroic act in a strange way, but too late for the victim or the young perps.

Now I read Keith Spera’s column in the Times-Picayune and I wonder who else feels as he does, who else is closing in on that tipping point, the same place I found myself in Washington, D.C. when two people died within a block of my house in a few months, and a brutal abduction/rape/murder began in the alley (but ended a mile away). We were living their with my infant daughter at the time, and we finally fled to the suburbs.

I wrote long ago that I’m not ready to retreat, not this time, but I’m not such a brave fool to not worry about that commitment. I know as I knew then that we cannot just retreat behind our bars and alarms any more than we can retreat to the Northshore.

In the end, I return to the famous old misquote of Edmund Burke that came to me two years ago, not long after Helen Hill died.

I am no more ready to give up hope now than I was a year and a half ago. Confronting the crime problem is no less daunting than contemplating how to rebuild a city more damaged than anything seen since World War II. All that is required for evil– and in the city’s case entropy–to triumph is that good men and women do nothing, as the famous misquote of Edmund Burke runs. Just as apt is an actual quote on the issue of American independence also from Mr. Burke:

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one…

The good have already begun to combine, NOLA Slate tell us, in reaction to the lastest horrible crimes, to demand action and to take action themselves. What remains to be seen is if this effort can be sustained, if it can push our dysfunctional, near collapse police department and our weak and vacillating city government to do something.

As I sat in my car outside Elizabeth’s finishing a cigarette before diinera song came on the radio (in plaintive Appalachian a capella, but Billy Brag will have to do for this link). It put me not in mind of the labor movement of the early twentieth century but crime run amok and what we as citizens can do about it. it was this that put me in mind of crime and Burke. It was after I got home that I read Spera’s piece, and as I sat on my porch the song ran through my head over and over again. All I could think of was the meeting Slate has chronicled over Wendy Byrne’s murder, and the panic on my neighborhood mailing list over two crimes Saturday morning. It may me think: what the hell are we going to do about this?

We have all spent and given too much to be here to walk away now. So which side are you on, boys, which side are you on? Will you run to the Northshore, or add some iron and lights to the house and never venture out? Or is it time to stand up and demand immediate action and results, or dire consequences, for Riley and his boss Ray Nagin and from the entire city government.

Kirsten Brydum Remembered January 23, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Crime, French Quarter, je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: , ,
5 comments

As residents of the French Quarter and the entire city prepare to Remember Wendy Byrne*, I want to share this comment on my 2008 murder victim list post.

New comment on your post #1941 “Remember 2008”

Comment:
Today is Kirsten Brydum’s birthday. We celebrate in her honor her in San Francisco, CA by inviting everyone and anyone to join us in Dolores Park for a picnic and bonfire later on the beach.

Thank you for remembering and not keeping quiet about the violence the effects us all – we are all in this together (as Kirsten so aptly reminded us). Together we can unite and bring light to the darkness.

Author : Will

You can see all comments on this post here:
https://toulousestreet.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/remember-2008/#comments

* UPDATE: The Second Line for Wendy has changed to Saturday afternoon. For updates, follow HumidCity.com

* UPDATE 02-01-09 : Here’s an LA Times story on Kirsten’s Odyssey and how it ended violently in New Orleans. I worry about the naivete of some of these punk volunteer anarchist types. They’re probably not big on Marx, but I suggest the bone up on the concept of the lumpenproletariat.

*** UPDATE 02-02-09 *** Members of the Iron Rail, an anarchist collective bookstore in the Marigny, are organzing a volunteer escort service called The Brydum Tandem Project for people who need assistance or just someone to help them get home safely in the Marigy and Bywater area. Details here. Given Kirsten’s leanings, I think this is an excellent memorial and a positive activity against crime.

Remember 2008 January 8, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Crime, je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: , ,
16 comments

“as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me”
— Jesus of Nazareth

So many stories came back to me as I transcribed this list of the dead in the killing fields of New Orleans. Nicola Cotton, the NOPD officer shot by known psychotic living on the street. Seeing two suspects listed with the same last name as one of the names from the 2007 list that gets the most search hits here. A retaliation killing? I will never know

I can’t skip work for the Silence is Violence Strike Against Crime, so publishing a list again on the blog will have to count for something.

This is the second year I have published this list: for Silence is Violence, who tries to make a difference; in remembrance of the victims and to shame their killers; and, once again for Chanel, cousin of blogger The Book.

As I work through the list and see how many of the victims “cleared a murder” (were identified as the suspect in another death), or as I look at the endless parade of mugshots by which many are memorialized, what I wrote about Chanel bears repeating:

Everyone person on that [2007] list, even if they had gone down that dark path and died with a handgun in their waste band and an empty look in their eyes, all of them were once as Chanel once was, as my own children once were: as innocent as a lamb in the lap of Jesus.

They were once as young and innocent as Ja Shawn Powell.

Here on Toulouse Street, we Remember.

You can see more information, including victim photographs and short news extracts, on the Times-Picayune Murder Blog. Thanks to the Picayune and it’s staff for compiling the list and sharing the information, which is more than the NOPD can manage.

As on my 2007 list post, if you know one of the victims I invite you to leave a comment remembering them.

Dec. 27: Coty Simmons, 20
4700 block of Galahad Drive – eastern New Orleans

Dec. 22: Terry Plaisance, 25 and Joshua Simmons, 29
1 Westbank Expressway – Algiers

Dec. 17: Brian Urby, 17
7100 block of Bunk Hill Road – eastern New Orleans

Dec. 15: Herbert Broussard, 27
300 block of Decatur Street – French Quarter

Dec. 13: Kenneth Monroe, 27
2500 block of Pauger Street – 7th Ward

Dec. 13: Felix Pearson, 20
2500 block of Pauger Street – 7th Ward

Dec. 13: Darriel Wilson, 20
2500 block of Pauger Street – 7th Ward

Dec. 8: Keith Robertson, 21
1400 block of Conti Street – Cultural Center

Dec. 2: Tony Marsalis, 25
2900 block of General Taylor Street – Milan

Nov. 24: Bernard Littles, 36
Corner of Franklin Avenue and Mexico Street – St. Anthony

Nov. 21: Kendrick Peters, 20
1900 block of Cambronne Street

Nov. 19: Bernell Brock, 25
9000 block of Green Street

Nov. 19: Kevin Jarrow, 33
corner of Green and Hollygrove streets

Nov. 18: Julius Hills, 21
Corner of Third and Dryades streets – Central City

Nov. 17: Kendrick Thomas, 22
2400 block of North Villere Street

Nov. 15: Brian Thickstin, 37
2800 block of Chippewa Stree

Nov. 12: Dioplaus D. Hathorn, 19
2000 block of Pauger Street – 7th Ward

Nov. 8: Javon Green, 15
2300 block of North Derbigny Street

Nov. 8: Kevin Rowe, 35
4100 block of Willow Street – Milan

Nov. 2: Mario Cruz, 34
1900 block of Piety Street

Oct. 29: Carl L. Leblanc III, 23
6000 block of Beechcraft Street

Oct. 28: Jorel Davis, 25
6000 block of Chef Menteur Highway –

Oct. 23: Anthony Quinn, 39
3800 Edinburgh Street – Hollygrove –

Oct. 22: Jamar Douglas, 20
2100 block of Cypress Acres Drive

Oct. 20: Kevin Maxwell, 29
2900 block of Cherry Street – Hollygrove

Oct. 17: Ryan Jones, 19
3300 block of Preston Place – Algiers –

Oct. 15: Brandon Martes, 22
2500 block of Constitution Place – Gentilly

Oct. 10: Wickham M. Parlante, 37
1400 block of Bienville Street – Cultural Center

Oct. 6: Demarrielle Walker, 21
7100 block of Read Boulevard – eastern New Orleans

Oct. 6: Albert Clinton McClebb Jr., 31
Corner of L.B. Landry and Erie streets – Algiers

Oct. 6: Vernon Johnson, 35
Constance and Race streets – Lower Coliseum Square

Oct. 5: Kendrick Sherman, 18
2500 block of St. Ann Street – 6th Ward

Oct. 5: Durrell Pooler, 23
2500 block of St. Ann Street – 6th Ward

Oct. 3: Harold J. Stanwood, 24
4600 block of Clara Street – Milan

Sept. 27: Kirsten Brydum, 25
3000 block of Laussat Place – Florida

Sept. 26: Bruce William Graves, 55
4900 block of Canal Street – Mid-City

Sept. 20: Darielle Rainey, 18
1900 block of Amelia Street – Milan

Sept. 20: Leslie Cannon, 19
Corner of North Prieur Street and Ursulines Avenue – 6th Ward

Sept. 18: Darrick Jack, 19
2000 block of Franklin Avenue – St. Roch

Sept. 11: Charles Dickerson, 30
1700 block of France Street – Upper 9th Ward

Sept. 7: Mark Stone, 38
7800 block of Olive Street – Gert Town

Sept. 6: Robert Santinac, 20
1600 block of Music Street – St. Roch
Santinac was the city’s first murder victim after the city’s evacution for Hurricane Gustav.

Aug. 30: Damion McCall, 17
Intersection of Touro Street and North Roman street – 7th Ward

Aug. 28: Celeste Hall, 39
7700 block of Chef Menteur Highway – eastern New Orleans

Aug. 28: Thomas Byrne, 40
Near the Elysian Fields Avenue overpass in the 7th Ward.

Aug. 27: Justin Laird, 18
1500 Murl Street – Algiers

Aug. 24: Kenel Schneckenburg, 24
1700 block of New Orleans Street – 7th Ward

Aug. 22: Allen Ivery Jr., 24
P2000 block of Felicity Street – Central City

Aug. 22: Keenon N. McCann, 32
6100 block of Dreux Avenue – eastern New Orleans

Aug. 20: Deron Hunter, 19
1100 block of North Roman Street – 6th Ward

Aug. 19: James A. Jones Jr., 39
300 block of North Robertson Street – Cultural Center

Aug. 16: Tyone Nions, 33
1100 block of North Roman Street – 6th Ward

Aug. 16: Bryant Langston, 17
600 block of Bordeaux – Uptown

Aug. 16: Travain Jones, 18
600 block of Bordeaux – Uptown

Aug. 13: Charles Jones, 39
1000 block of Newton Street – Algiers

Aug. 11: Jessica L. Hawk, 32
3000 block of Chartres Street – Bywater

Aug. 11: Rodil Rodriguez, 44
3700 block of Dryades Street – Milan

Aug. 11: Antoine C. Pierre, 27
Corner of Josephine and Carondelet streets – Central City

Aug. 10: Devin Legaux, 33
Corner of Pauger and North Rampart streets – Marigny

Aug. 3: Kevin Ford Jr., 24
3100 block of Bruxelles Street – Broad

Aug. 3: Joshua Brown, 24
Corner of Hamburg and Lafreniere streets – Gentilly

Aug. 3: Vance Brooks Jr., 23
Corner of Hamburg and Lafreniere streets – Gentilly

July 30: Kendall Parker, 37
5600 block of Dauphine Street – Holy Cross

July 30: Roy Wolfe, 34
1700 block of South Lopez Street – Broadmoor

July 27: Gerald Thorton, 20
6300 block of Kingston Court – Algiers

July 26: Ryen Tate, 20
1300 block of South Saratoga Street – Central City

July 25: Jerrold Smith, 58
8600 block of Hickory – West Carrollton

July 25: Roy Callaway, 30-
Corner of St. Bernard Avenue and North Galvez Street

July 24: Yen Nguyen, 72
14300 block of Dwyer Road – eastern New Orleans

July 21: Lawrence Robinson, 21
1400 block of South Rampart Street – Central City

July 20: Marvin Louis, 19
8700 block of Belfast Street – Uptown

July 20: Kerry Emery, 28
3300 block of Clouet Street

July 20: Walter Miguel Jovel, 41
Corner of North Derbigny and Spain streets

July 18: Anthony Brooks, 20
3100 block of Marais Street

July 18: Deshawn “Julio” Stewart, 18
Corner of North Prieur and Laharpe streets – 7th Ward

July 15: Terence “Sporty T” Vine, 41
5100 block of Painters Street – Gentilly

July 11: Luis Fernando Cardonia-Mejia, 28
7300 block of Read Boulevard – eastern New Orleans

July 10: Mark Westbrook, 33
4300 block of Lane Street – eastern New Orleans

July 6: Mervin Simon, 22
2300 block of A.P. Tureaud Avenu

July 2: Kelly Hill, 17
2100 block of Franklin Avenue – St. Roch

June 29: Robert Irwin, 47
5000 block of South Prieur Street – Broadmoor

June 29: Alvin Wilson, 21
Corner of First and South Prieur streets – Central City

June 26: Lorenzo Larvinette, 22
Corner of North Claiborne Avenue and Bienville Street

June 25: Victor Russell, 48
6300 block of North Rampart Street

June 19: Denzel Williams, 18
1700 block of Hero Street – Algiers

June 10: John Jordan, 36
Corner of Annunciation and Market streets – Lower Garden District

June 9: Dejuan Jason, 17
3200 block of Kabel Drive – Algiers

June 9: McArthur Carter, 45
1900 block of Philip Street – Central City

June 8: Kenneth Posey, 45
Corner of 3rd and South Johnson streets – Central City

June 8: Dwayne Stewart, 38
5000 block of Basinview Drive – eastern New Orleans

June 5: Tremika Bingham, 27
4500 block of Skyview Drive – eastern New Orleans

June 5: Christopher Williams, 38
4500 block of Skyview Drive – eastern New Orleans

May 22: Christopher Lewis, 23
3900 block of Royal Street – Bywater

May 21: Kenneth Lewis, 45
3100 block of Orleans Avenue – Bayou St. John
May 21: Brenda Joyce Jackson, 57
3100 block of Orleans Avenue – Bayou St. John

May 17: Dalvin Rainey, 24
Corner of L.B. Landry Avenue and De Armas Street – Algiers

May 17: Michael Reed, 21
Corner of L.B. Landry Avenue and De Armas Street – Algiers

May 13: Darnell P. Stewart, 23
3400 block of South Claiborne Avenue – Central City –
Suspect Andre Hankton
Suspect Telly Hankton
I left the suspect note from NOLA.Com on this one. Please see my past post about George Hankton, one of the most searched names leading to last year’s post. I hope this wasn’t a retaliation killing.

May 11: Ivy Ranson III, 25
800 block of North Claiborne Avenue – Treme

May 11: Roddy Usher, 36
3300 block of Garden Oaks Drive – Algiers

May 10: Arthur Mitchell, 15
2100 block of South Robertson Street – Central City

May 5: Elijah Bentley, 21
10200 block of Castlewood Drive – eastern New Orleans

May 5: Juan Pena-Gomez, 34
4300 block of Dale Street – eastern New Orleans

May 4: Brandon McCue, 22
7700 block of Chef Menteur Highway – eastern New Orleansscene.

May 1: Lakeisha Taylor, 24
1400 block of Conti Street – Cultural Center –

May 1: Patrick Fleming, 20
2900 block of Banks Street – Mid-City

April 30: Candice Gillard, 24
10600 block of Old Gentilly Road

April 30: Jarnell Sanders, 22
10600 block of Gentilly Road

April 27: Marquise Charles, 20
2600 block of Dumaine Street – Treme

April 27: Sylvester Cash, 17
2600 block of Dumaine Street – Treme

April 26: Louis Bertholotte, 25
2100 block of A.P. Tureaud Avenue – 7th Ward

April 25: Margaret Wells, 21
2300 block of Laharpe Street – 7th Ward

April 25: Tony Wells, 22
2300 block of Laharpe Street – 7th Ward

April 25: Johnny Crawford, 20
2300 block of Laharpe Street – 7th Ward

April 23: Robert C. Hurst, 34
1300 block of Gallier Street – 9th Ward

April 20: Michael Allen, 32
4700 block of Miles Drive – Gentilly

April 19: Nathaniel Osborne, 19
2500 block of Upperline Street – Freret

April 19: Antoine Martin, 18
6000 block of Chef Menteur Highway – eastern New Orleans

April 19: Lorne Simms, 20
1400 block of North Johnson Street – 7th Ward

April 18: Yohance Shabazz, 18
2300 block of Seminole Lane – Central City

April 18: Keith Williams, 23
corner of Dufossat and Freret streets – Freret

March 25: Natasha Martin, 28
I-10 near Michoud exit – eastern New Orleans

March 24: Kraig Carney, 19
I-10 eastbound near Airline exit – Mid-City

March 24: Jason Williams, 29
3900 block of Dowman Road – eastern New Orleans

March 22: Troy Mayfield Sr., 28
8200 block of Almonaster Avenue – eastern New Orleans

March 21: Lerman Robinson, 25
1200 block of South Johnson Street – Central City

March 13: Lance Zarders, 17
1600 block of Frenchmen Street – 7th Ward

March 11: James Brooks, 46
3600 block of Lotus Street – Gentilly

March 9: Lester Harris, 37
200 block of North Robertson Street – Cultural Center

March 9: Dominque Weber, 16
1400 block of Frenchmen Street – 7th Ward

March 8: Leyon Gaines, 32
7300 block of Pitt Street – Black Pearl

March 6: Jeanell Green, 42
3300 block of Lancaster Street – Algiers

March 3: Freddie Hilton, 30
3500 block of Garden Oaks Drive – Algiers

March 2: Jerome Jones, 24
corner of Jackson Avenue and Willow Street – Central City

Feb. 29: Don Lewis Jr., 42
8900 block of Forshey Street – Hollygrove

Feb. 27: Michael Spencer, 27
3600 block of Danneel Street – Milan

Feb. 27: Brandon Spencer, 19
1300 block of St. Roch Avenue – St. Roch

Feb. 26: Leonard Fant, 53
2000 block of Elizardi Boulevard – Algiers

Feb. 26: Richon Jones, 21
1300 block of St. Roch Avenue – St. Roch

Feb. 11: Keith Harrison Jr., 25
2400 block of Allen Street – 7th Ward

Feb. 11: Nathan F. LeBlanc Jr., 21
7900 block of Bullard Avenue – East New Orleans

Feb. 8: Brian Miller, 19
2300 block of Washington Avenue – Central City

Feb. 6: Edward Causey, 26
corner of St. Mary and Annunciation streets – Lower Garden District –

Feb. 3: Javonte Morgan, 15
1700 block of North Galvez Street – 7th Ward

Feb. 3: Jadace Craft, 24
1600 block of Marigny Street – St. Roch

Feb. 2: Allen Porche, 24
1200 block of Delery Street – Lower 9th Ward

Feb. 2: Terry Robinson, 26
1200 block of Delery Street – St. Claude

Jan. 28: Nicola Cotton, 24
2100 block of Earhart Boulevard – Central City
Cotton, 24, a New Orleans Police Sixth District officer, was fatally shot in a struggle with a man she was questioning. The shooter was later determined to be psychotic.

Jan. 27: Henry Butler IV, 21
1900 block of Foucher Street – Milan

Jan. 25: Courtney Thompson, 19
corner of Abundance Street and Florida Avenue – Gentilly

Jan. 26: Joseph Canselo, 19
6400 block of General Meyer Avenue – Cutoff

Jan. 20: Bertrand Winfield
corner of Gannon Road and Hayne Boulevard – East New Orleans

Jan. 15: Altheus Myers Sr., 26
corner of Jackson Avenue and Willow Street – Central City

Jan. 14: Monroe “Money” Walker, 20
corner of Magnolia and Philip streets -Central City

Jan. 12: Gervais Nicholas, 16
corner of Tulane Avenue and South Lopez Street – Tulane

Jan. 11: Jody Johnson, 47
3600 block of Piety Street – Desire

Jan. 11: Scott Dorsey, 25
Petit Bayou Lane near Willowbrook Drive – Village de l’Est

Jan. 7 – David Sisolak Jr., 25
1700 block of Hero Boulevard – Algiers

Jan. 6: Ryan McClure, 23
5700 block of Wisner Boulevard – Gentilly

Jan. 6: Michael Augustine, 23
1100 block of Lizardi Street – Lower 9th Ward

Jan. 4: Jose Francisco Ramos, 44
100 block of Pinewood Court – Algiers

Jan. 2: Kendrick Quinn, 18
6800 block of Parc Brittany Boulevard – East New Orleans

Christmas Memories of Another Sort December 12, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
add a comment

Every now and then I get a new comment on this post. I wonder if the holidays will bring more people Googling up loved ones as an exercise in remembrance, just as I found myself researching a group of people I knew when I lived in Washington, D.C. but have lost touch with.

While the many dead are an abstraction for the casual reader of the newspaper, for some they were friends and family. All of them, whatever they had become, were once as my own children.

Soon, I will need to reach out to a couple of other bloggers, and see about the sad task of making a list for 2008. Before I post this, I will have to scroll far down the list of tags in WordPress and find one I have not chosen for a long time: We Are Not OK.

New comment on your post #227 “Silence is Violence Remembers”
Author : …
E-mail : …
URL :
Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=98.172.55.24
Comment:
BRETT JASON JACOBS

Although we lost the privilege of having you by our side, you will always be in our heart. We miss you so very much. Until we meet again, may you rest in peace.

You can see all comments on this post here:
https://toulousestreet.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/silence-is-violence-remembers/#comments

Thank you, Wendy and Keyonna May 15, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

A while back I posted up a list of all of the people listed by m.d. filter as having died by criminal violence in New Orleans in 2007. I invited anyone who came to the sight to leave their own memorials to those who died.

Not a day goes by that I don’t have visitors coming in from Google or somewhere else to that page, a constant reminder on those days when the newspaper is free of reports of another shooting. Not many people leave comments, but I got two in one day and thought I should call them out. Please go read Wendy and Keyonna’s comments on the post Silence is Violence Remembers.

I get almost daily visits for George Hankton. I don’t know who he was, but a lot of people are looking for somone by that name, and I can’t find any famous person who matches up

The Hard Questions May 8, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: , , , , ,
4 comments

“And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.”
— Audie Lorde

Cliff of Cliff’s Crib blog asks some hard questions about crime and how people deal with it:

“Last week, when I read the story of those guys that kicked in that door on Laharpe St. and shot those three people, the first thing I thought about was “well, at least they didn’t shoot the baby. Had they shot the baby too, we would have been outraged because the baby is not part of the game. Since they let the baby live, there is part of us that considers that kind of event part of the life those folks choose to live. The question is how can that be ok when the folks in question are our family, friends, classmates, and neighbors.”

Maybe it’s not my place to jump into this discussion, since his blog post directly addresses the local African-American community and bloggers of color in particular. (Not in that quote but in the longer piece). Me, I’m as white as a truck load of of Bunny Bread. But I live here, too, and not enough people of any sort are asking the hard question: how can we just let this go one because it’s “them”, whether that’s a class them (we’re not in the ‘hood, that’s not us) or a race question (they’re black, I’m white; that’s not us).

It’s the hard question everyone in every community in this town regardless of race or section needs to be asking themselves.

I think about this every day. Earlier this year, I posted up a list of all of the people who died violently in New Orleans on this site. And not a day goes by but someone comes by searching for one of those who died. I don’t know who George Hankton was, but there seem to be a lot of people with access to the internet who cared. Someone Googling that name shows up almost every day. Still, no one who knew him leaves a comment on that page. I’ve looked out on the net myself for any more info, but there are only a couple of cryptic “my cousin died” posts on My Space pages that are marked private. The Book wrote a post about his cousin Chanell Sanchell which prompted a post of my own, but most of those who die vanish into obscurity, forgotten by all but those who knew them personally.

What happened to George Hankton (age 40, not some punk kid) and Chanell Schanell should be the concern of everyone who choses to live here, who insists on making New Orleans home. The death of every person here by violence is your concern. If you think it’s not your concern, you’re probably reading the wrong web page. This blog is primarily about New Orleans, and if you think you care about New Orleans and don’t care about the young black men (and women) dying in the streets, well, then you don’t care about New Orleans as deeply as you think you do.

The problem is none of us know what to do about it. I don’t. Cliff admits he doesn’t. Our so-called leaders sure as hell don’t have a clue. But before we get to answers, at least we ought to be able to start with some questions. We’ll take the easy ones first. How did this come about? And what can I do today that will make it stop, someday? I don’t have the answer for the 13-year olds who were just busted for sticking people up in my neighborhood. They’re the age of my own son, and may be lost already. But they probably have little brother’s and sisters going to Recovery District schools. Will they even have a chance at something better, something other than what their brothers found? Are these siblings their only role models? What about the culture these kids pick up on TV and the radio glorifying what their “big” brothers did? What about the people who profit by recording and broadcasting that?

Who are these kids’ role models? What about everyone who fled certain parts of the city but stayed “in New Orleans” (if you tell people when you’re out of town that “I’m from New Orleans, then yes that’s you regardless of where you actually live). It doesn’t matter if you fled into the suburbs and Catholic school in the early ’60s or into the East and the magnet schools in the 70s and 80s: all the people who could make a difference–white and black–seem to have turned their back on the weakest among us. This city is ringed by churches full of Good Christians who seemed to have slept through all of the homilies they ever heard.

The kids who are killing and dying, and the families they come from, were left behind like too many animals in a too small a cage with not enough to eat, and you don’t need a degree in sociology to figure out how that plays out. And now many of the best and brightest of the people who grew up in the hard neighborhoods aren’t coming back from The Evacuation. They’ve discovered a place where jobs pay decently and the schools work. They’re the next wave of the middle-class out-of-poverty story, and how many of them are staying in Atlanta or Texas or Nashville?

I think only the hand of a loving god could reach down and pluck some teenager with a pistol in his waste band off the streets and save him. I’m pretty sure I can’t, and I doubt the rest of you could either. But we have to start somewhere. The first step is to decide to give a damn. The next step is to figure out the next step. If I knew what it was I’d be charging you $1,500 for the advice and trying to sell you the companion books and tapes. I don’t have the answers, but I have an inkling of what the questions are. And thanks to Cliff (and The Book and m.d. filter) the impulse to start to ask them. That’s a beginning.

Tragedy In Two Acts April 11, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Sinn Fein, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

Yesterday a jury acquired the accused killer of music teacher and Hot 8 Brass Band member Dinerral Shavers after the state’s key witness could not identify the accused in court. What, does this kid not watch TV? Its the guy in the suit at the table with the lawyers you don’t know. Jeezus.

I won’t recount the whole sad tale. You can read about it here. The aftermath of Shavers’ shooting as a comedy of errors sandwiched between two tragedies: Shavers’ death and the failure of the N.O.P.D. and district attorney’s office to bring a sense of justice and closure to Shavers’ family and friends.

Shavers’ killing and that of artist and filmmaker Helen Hill galvanized the city in 2007, leading to a crime march by thousands of Orleanians to their City Hall to demand that the police, courts and city find a way to stop the killings.

The judge’s final remarks were a pointed comment on what is going down on the streets of New Orleans:

“This is like Baghdad,” [Judge Jerome] Winsberg told the jury after reading their verdicts aloud.

People are shooting each other over neighborhood alliances, he noted; children are not only raising themselves, but being left to care for toddlers and babies in the 2200 block of Dumaine Street.

Winsberg said he wasn’t commenting on the verdict, just the four days of testimony that preceded it. A subset of New Orleans unfolded in court, the judge said, one in which no one seems to live with their parents, but guns and “beefs” and threats are ever-present.

I will have the sad privilege of seeing the Hot 8 at a private event later today, and telling them how sorry I am for how all this played out. The band will be at French Quarter Fest tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Wollenberg Park. I encourage you to come out and show these guys some love today.

Silence is Violence Remembers January 11, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, Crime, Debrisville, je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, We Are Not OK.
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Update: Not a day passes that this page isn’t visited by someone searching for the name of a person on the list below. As I suggested here in a more recent post, if you knew one of these people I encourage you to take a minute and leave a memorial comment. Be a part of the dialogue of remembrance.

Silence is Violence will mark the one-year anniversary of the New Orleans March on Crime with a press conference at noon today, Jan. 11 2008, on the steps of City Hall, and an evening concert at the Howlin’ Wolf.

Blogger md filter (formerly da po boy), who tracks issues around crime, lists those who died in needlessly in violence in 2007. The list is below.

Remember. Silence is Violence.

Corey Hayes
Cedric Johnson
Hilary Campbell Jr.
Randall Thomas
Kevin Williams
Helen Hill
Jealina Brown
Steve Blair
Jeffery Santos
Chivas Doyle
Christopher Ruth
Tyrone Andrew Johnson
Ronald Holmes
James McGittigan Jr.
Roy Warner Jr.
Eldon Gaddis
David Crater
Daniel Allen
Chrishondolaye Lamothe
Tamara Gabriel
Robert Dawson
Michael Dunbar
Damon Brooks
Ivan Brooks
Alden Wright
Harrison Miller
Roy Grant
David Cagnalatti
Lionel Ware III
Aaron Allen
Josh Rodrigue
Herbert Preston
Byron Love
Ronnie Keelen
Mitchell Pierce
Kevin Pham
Kevana Price
Warren Thompson
Glynn Francois Jr.
Sean Robinson
Larry Ramee III
Warren Simpson
Antoine Williams
Terry Despenza
Eldridge Ellis
Travis Johnson
Phillip R. Boykins
Charley Zeno
Carl Anthony McLendon
Terry Brock
Cleveland Daniels
Alexander Williams
Terry Hall
Dominic Bell
Gregory Singleton
Damont Jenkins
Troy Thomas
Artherine Williams
Keith Moore
Nicholas Smith
Eligio Bismark Espinoza
Daniel L. Prieto
Curtis Helms Jr.
Troy Dent
Curtis Brenson
Michael Combs
Jay Landers
Mark Oneal
Corey Coleman
Emanuel Gardner
Edward Charles Balser
Arthur Dowell
Montrell Faulkin
Anthony Placide
Ernest Williams
Harry Heinzt Jr.
Robert Billiot
Willie Simmons
Tammie Johnson
Larry Hawkins
Terrell Ceazer
George Hammond
Persale R. Green
Joseph Magee
Albert Phillips
Samuel Gonzales
Darryl Williams
Robin Malta
Jason Wynne
Jerrell Jackson
Christopher Roberts
Samuel Williams Jr.
Jeremy Tillman
Jennifer Williams
Gary Walls
Arthur Jackson IV
Henry Newman
Johnny Martin III
Travan Coates
Jeffery Tate
Jerome Banks
Eric Fobbs
Keith Page
Adrian Davis
Paul Burks
Leon Williams Jr.
Dallas Jerome
James Johnson
Anthony White
Dellshea LeBlanc
John W. Barrow III
Kevin Underwood
Pablo Mejia Jr.
unidentified man
Thomas Jackson
unidentified man
Demond Phillips
Michael Phillips
Luong Nguyen
Anjelique Vu
Terry Johnson
Chauncy Smith
Cornelius Curry
Nia Robertson
Kadeem Wise
Percy Read
Freddie Davis II
Edwin Stuart
Corwin Shaffer
Julio Benitez-Cruz
Wilford Holmes
Perry L. Oliver
Donald Gullage
Kong Kham Vongvilay
Wisan Inthamat
Boon Roopmoh
Louis Heim
Brandon Snowton
Carnell Wallis
Thomas Dominick
Larry Gooden
Gerald Howard
Larry Butler Jr.
Phillip A. Carmouche Jr.
unidentified man
Aaron Harvey
Mario Anthony Green
Jason Snyder
Perry Watts
Lionel J. Hills
Warren Martin
Dwayne Landry
Don Smith
Demetrius Gooden
Townsend Bennett
unidentified man
Thelonius Dukes
Gregory Hayes
Charles Miller
Eddie Bernard
unidentified man
Carmen Leona Reese
Cedrick Brooks
Waldon Howard
unidentified man
Antwon McGee
Jason Anderson
Archie Solet
Shana Thomas
Brian Lee
David Bryan Alford Jr.
Brett Jason Jacobs
Howard Pickens
Darryl Daggons
Matthew Qualls
Aubrey Powell
John Batiste
Toran Landry
Anthony Walker
Lester Denis
Cardero Davis
Javier Sanchez
Julian Mathins
Theodore J. Leach
Daniel Baham
Jubbar Scott
Tyrone Lanaux Jr.
Andre Toussaint
Eddie Spiller
Carlos Miller
Sheldon Dean
Rigoberto Dominguez
Angela Thomas Bryant
Brandon Brown
Jermaine Turner
Alejandro Pecina Ruiz
George Hankton III
Aaron Williams
Frank Whittington
unidentified person
Jesse Jones
Chanell Sanchell
James Jones
Wendell Millro
Elizabeth Chapman
Clayton Johnson Jr.

January 12, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Crime, Debrisville, Helen Hill, Mid-City, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Toulouse Street.
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Mid-City Marchers against crime and violence as they come up Elks Place from Canal Street toward City Hall.