Monday, September 17, 2007

One more murder in this town...

Two, actually. One in Terrytown (which is on the West Bank), and one in the 17th Street Canal near the Earhart (details are still unknown.

According to a local blogger, "August was the deadliest month in New Orleans this year with 26 murders."

I can only imagine what September's total will be.

The national media calls us Murdertown, USA - but the truth is that the violence is basically a civil war, much of it in Central City (across Louisiana Ave. from where D., the Monster and I make our home) and New Orleans East.

I'm by no means naive about what's at stake here in New Orleans, but every time I read about a shooting or a rape within a few miles of La Maison, I have flashbacks to that night in June.

What night in June? Let me recap - some already know what happened that night:

On a muggy Friday night, around 9:15, I was on the phone with D. and folding laundry. The wrought iron gate on my front door was locked, but the front door itself was open. I had a mix CD playing out in the living room, and was all set to go to bed early. After all, D. was flying in on Saturday morning (hooray!).

Jake started barking nonstop and I heard screaming from outside. I went into the living room, flipped on the porch light, and saw a woman there, covered in blood, begging for help. I called the police and EMS, and in the meantime got the woman situated on the porch, sitting down. I made a tourniquet out of a towel for her upper arm, and held it elevated. I also tried to keep her talking so that she wouldn't go into shock.

She told me that her boyfriend took a shovel to her, beating her and slicing her. He cut her right forearm clean through to the bone. He put her in his truck and dumped her in our neighborhood. She staggered up the street, disoriented, looking for help.

The cops were there within 6 minutes - 3 patrol cars. EMS showed up 2-3 minutes later. As they sterilized her arm, I held her arm and she cried into my shoulder. Her name is Clorissa. Because she had just returned to New Orleans and just started her job at Wal-mart, she didn't have insurance. They took her to University Hospital - basically, where all the uninsured go for medical care.

The cops hung around to get my statement. I was in my pajamas, covered in her blood, and shaken up, but relatively calm. They were incredibly nice, and upon learning that I had just moved to the area, they adopted a big-brother-protective stance, and started telling me where in the area I shouldn't go after dark.

It's easy to assume that you'll never witness a crime, or even its aftermath. But as long as the NOPD is understaffed and the D.A.'s office is incompetent and corrupt, New Orleans will easily hit 200 murders this year. EASILY.

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