Saturday, January 06, 2007

Go Have a Taste of da po' blog, Because It's Getting Dark at World Class

1. Everyone who cares about Houston or New Orleans needs to read da po' blog's truly outstanding post on the murder and crime rate in Houston. The murder rate is up slightly, other crime is down, but hysteria is way, way up.

Anti-New Orleans sentiment there is off the charts. I'm not making that up. That assessment comes from market research done by one of New Orleans's leading tourism-related agencies.

2. For the first time since Katrina and the levee failures and the governmental failures, the words "We're outta here" fell from the lips of both Dr. Mrs. Clio and me yesterday. We're not making any radical moves or anything, but it's just dark.

Helen Hill was murdered in her house in the early morning this week while her husband, Dr. Paul Gailiunas, and toddler daughter huddled nearby. The man is a family physician colleague of Dr. Mrs. Clio. I met him once, and that meeting indicated to me what everybody is saying (b.rox among those saying it best): these are simply extraordinary people, trying to do good and make beauty in a place where it's not always easy to do either. If they can't make it here--and they didn't, since Ms. Hill is now dead and Dr. Gailiunas is understandably moving back to a safe haven--then I have doubts about trying to make it. Or it makes me want to fight more. I don't know.

This is getting a lot of attention because a creative professional couple got hit horribly by violence. I know there must be even more horrible stories that do not get heard because the families hit were not as visible. But based on his track record, Dr. Gailiunas would be the first person to tell those families' stories.

I just wanna go shake somebody. I don't know what to do.


ashley said...

I dunno what to do either. I can't even blog about it. We keep saying to ourselves "yeah, but our neighborhood is safe". But these people had their kid in at the daycare where our youngest is on the waitlist...where I put up the rail in the front of the house.

It's one thing to fight the outside powers; but it's another to fight from within.

Mr. Melpomene said...

Well written post. I don't have much to add but you have me thinking.

da po' boy said...

"I don't know what to do."

Getting people to think is a good start. You've done that.

Anonymous said...

This is tragic but such tragedy is not new at all. These spates of stories seem to keep happening over and over and have been going on for years.

Some constructive thoughts:

There needs to be genuine community policing but even that will not likely bring results without a much-improved level of trust between law enforcement and all elements in the community.

They're here to serve the taxpayers and need to act like it at all times instead of, well, almost the opposite.

No more corruption, no abuse of powers and no more going hard after petty stuff and just hassling people like they seem to do all the time.

The National Guard was/is respected because they don't hassle people but they'll still come down on someone if they cross the line.

Of course, it's just plain wrong to not value human life but there's long been a dis-connect in different ways between the greater community and certain elements and the ones who need to get the message that human life should be valued and that armed robbery is not the thing to do are never going to get that message as long as that dis-connect condition exists.

Marco said...

Stay and fight for your city. She needs you. Summer is born at the solstice.

SPM said...

I feel like I am keeping a secret. I am trying to convince Mrs. LatinTeacher to move back. She has even talked to her boss about moving to New Orleans (not yet her mom - the tougher battle) who has said she would let her move. But I can't in good conscience move my wife down there when the very real possibility exists of one of us getting shot/murdered/killed/maimed/etc. And if I tell her what has been going and what just happened on I have no chance of convincing her. I am in a weird spot.
And that is nothing compared to how I feel for the Dr. Gailiunas and his child.

Maitri said...

While we don't know what to do, one thing is clear: Eddie Jordan and Warren Riley have to go. Ok two things: Public stonings in Jackson Square. I'm not kidding. How long will it be before this shit comes to the LGD? No one is safe. Ok, I'm just blathering now, but that's the best I can do thinking about little Francis Gailiunas-Hill.

Puddinhead said...

As dumb and unfeeling as it sounds, I think it's probably best for the city that Katrina jumbled everything such that these heinous crimes are now occuring in a much more widespread manner. It was way too easy when the bulk of our murders were all taking place in the same Central City and Ninth Ward and Hollygrove neighborhoods to just sort of "Tsk, tsk" when the most recent one hit the news; upset that it had happened, of course, but somewhat relieved that there was no reason for us to sweat it because we'd never be in "those" neighborhoods. The rare French Quarter or Garden District murder would get everyone's attention for awhile, of course...those made it tougher to see the almost daily killings as "just criminals preying on criminals".

(Disclosure: I, like many in NO, have had some measure of firsthand experience with crime. My parents didn't move out of the Upper Ninth Ward [that's the part that's not the Lower, not Bywater, not Gentilly, not the East..LOL] until the guy on the motor scooter rode up and put a round through the back of the brain of the dude who was standing on the corner outside their living room. And years ago I found out what a gun barrel feels like when it's pressed into the side of your head during an armed robbery; I'm proud to say I did NOT crap my pants, as I might have expected had I ever thought about being in the situation.)

Now the undrawn-but-very-real maps of the city's drug "turfs" have been balled up and thrown away, and the relocated "businessmen" are settling differences of opinion the same way they always have, usually involving a hole in someone's skull. They're doing it a little closer to the homes of some who may have allowed themselves to be a little complacent in the past, as I've said before. Feeling a little more threatened, these folks from some previously-thought "safe" neighborhoods are getting arroused. And should they get riled up enough in great enough numbers, something might actually happen--because unlike the people who've always lived in the "bad" neighborhoods, these folks are the ones who City Hall eventually HAS to listen to. They have power and influence many of them don't even know they have. And a real "popular uprising" that spans the WHOLE spectrum of NO citizenry is the only thing that has a chance of instigating change.

Anonymous said...

I'm through with this place. I love it, but not enough to put my family at risk. Maybe there will be some miraculous change here, but I don't see any reason to think the quality of life is going to improve in the foreseeable future. All I can expect is more white flight which will lead to more squalor in Orleans Parish (and so on) until New Orleans is an all-black commuter town no different than Atlanta or Birmingham. Fucking depressing.

Nabil said...

"If they can't make it here--and they didn't, since Ms. Hill is now dead and Dr. Gailiunas is understandably moving back to a safe haven--then I have doubts about trying to make it. Or it makes me want to fight more. I don't know."

My thoughts exactly.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Paul was my doctor. I have only the kindest words to say about him. I only found out today, Jan. 10th that it was MY Dr. Paul that had his wife killed. I am devestated. Not only did I lose a wonderful doctor, the city lost a real advocate for the people. He was one the best things that could have ever happened to New Orleans and now he has moved away and his beautiful wife is gone forever. I am so sad.