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Remember Chanel, Remember Them All February 29, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, Dancing Bear, je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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11 comments

Ever since I posted a list of all of the New Orleans dead of 2007, not a day goes by that this site is not visited by people searching for their loved ones on the internet. Yesterday, someone searched the internet for “chanell sanchell new orleans”.

Today, we’re going to remember Chanel. I didn’t know this person. That doesn’t matter. If we only choose to remember the people we knew, or the people like us, then remembrance is an act of selfishness. If we only worry about people who look like us or move in our circles and places, then it will never end.

It doesn’t matter that I did not know her or her family. It only matters that she has joined The Ghosts. To be among the ghosts is not to be denied the heaven of one’s dreams. It is to be in an honored host, as honored as those who stand at the foot of the throne if you tend to that version. It is to be remembered, to be a part of the city forever.

Here is Chanel’s story from Nola.com. From the news reports, she sounds like a good kid who ran with the wrong crowd. Perhaps it was the only crowd she knew, was full of the faces she knew from the time she first toddled down the steps of a building in St. Bernard on her own two feet, a crowd that perhaps included her first best girlfriend, the first boy she kissed. How easy it would be for someone like Chanel to fall in with that crowd, the people she grew up with good and bad, and to suddenly find herself on the wrong side of an argument with one of the bad in that crowd, one of the worst; an argument that ended with a gun shot through the heart.

Here is a blog post from a cousin. I think The Book and the comments on his blog say more than I can. Or read the comments on this post from last October at m.d. filter.

Many of those on the lists I and m.d. filter have published are otherwise invisible on the internet. There is only the list, perhaps a mention on this blog or m.d. filter. For most, there is a brief paragraph in the Times-Picayune. “The coroner has identified… Detective so-and-so is investigating. Call Crimestoppers…”. That is all; nothing more.

If you are one of those who stumbles onto this blog looking for someone you knew, please take a moment to leave some memorial in the comments. I know you are out there, looking for something about this person. You can leave your messages anonymously. Or you can email me and I will post it as a comment. 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. Someone, somewhere who uses the internet remembers them not as a name on a list but as a person. (I know because you come looking for them.) Tell us something about that person. Tell us what you perhaps said or wish you had said when the minister at the funeral asked if anyone wanted to speak.

Some of us chose to remember, like the bone men. I want the dead and the living to know that we remember, that in this city there are many who remember. We will never forget one of you.

Update: I also just found this blog, which mostly captures police reports about violent crime in NOLA.

Update 5-16-08: Corrected spelling of Chanel’s name (except in the Google reference, because that’s how they find this page), per her cousin who published The Book blog.