Killing Brings New Orleans to its Bloodied Knees
January 5, 2007 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Killings Bring New Orleans to its Bloodied Knees In the sixth New Orleans murder in less than 24 hours, Helen Hill was killed and her husband (who co-founded a sliding-scale doctors' office to serve the impoverished community) was shot in their home Thursday about 5:30 a.m., said police, who found the bleeding man kneeling at the door of the couple's Faubourg Marigny home, clutching their 2-year-old son.
posted by ColdChef (106 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Helen Hill was an experimental animator who began making films at the age of five. She graduated from Harvard University in 1992 with a BA in English, specializing in creative writing, and later completed her Masters in Fine Arts, with a major in Film and Video from the California Institute for the Arts in 1995. It was while obtaining her masters that Helen got her start teaching, educating inner-city kids in Los Angeles on how to make video animation.
posted by ColdChef at 6:47 PM on January 5, 2007

More about her experimental animation from a 2001 interview in the New Orleans Gambit Weekly.
posted by ColdChef at 6:49 PM on January 5, 2007

Goodbye, Dear Helen Hill.
posted by ColdChef at 6:51 PM on January 5, 2007

Post-Katrina New Orleans should be this country's wake-up call, I swear. How saddening.
posted by eparchos at 7:04 PM on January 5, 2007

I don't understand the headline. How did this murder bring the city "to its bloodied knees"?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:07 PM on January 5, 2007

Helen was such a kind and open person-
bursting with enthusiasm for life and her myriad projects,
always smiling, always excited about being in the world.
I know everyone's eulogy begins like that,
and we all think, "Oh, sure.."
but honestly, I can't think of a more loving soul.
I am not understanding life's lessons today.

Paul and Helen's house was destroyed in Katrina,
but still they returned- determined to clean up,
pick up the pieces and continue living in New Orleans.
Even though her films were damaged and mostly
ruined by the mucky water, she continued to fight
to preserve her work- and to show the films
in their new, altered state.
Decay that tells a story-
before and after.

posted by ColdChef at 7:11 PM on January 5, 2007

Post-Katrina New Orleans should be this country's wake-up call, I swear. How saddening.

Like pre-Katrina was some sort of utopia?

This is a terribly sad story.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:11 PM on January 5, 2007

Jesus, Chef. What is going on over there? On my way back from Fourchon tonight I heard on the N.O. NPR station there've been eight murders this year already. And now this.
posted by atchafalaya at 7:12 PM on January 5, 2007

the stess of living in new orleans right now has to be unbelievable. very sad story. it seems from the Times-Picayune , that this is a very unusual kind of murder for the city, most of the victims being poor and unknown.

my heart goes out to their family, and friends.
everybody down there needs a break, i hope to god the get one soon.
posted by nola at 7:14 PM on January 5, 2007

Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese :: "I don't understand the headline. How did this murder bring the city 'to its bloodied knees'?"

I think it's referring to the six total attacks within a day's time. Also a reference to how Hill's husband was found, kneeling at the door of their house.
posted by Shecky at 7:16 PM on January 5, 2007

Like pre-Katrina was some sort of utopia?

Comparably, yes.
posted by eparchos at 7:17 PM on January 5, 2007

Paul is a Doctor with a dream to have a free medical clinic. Until his dream becomes a reality, he is working with a walk-in clinic in the Ninth Ward. He did not want to return to New Orleans after their home and belongings were destroyed by the aftermath of Katrina, but Helen couldn't wait to move back to her beloved New Orleans. Helen asked all of us to write a card telling Paul reasons why they should return. Sadly, I was one to entice him.
posted by ColdChef at 7:19 PM on January 5, 2007

this just gets more heartbreaking , the more i read.
posted by nola at 7:24 PM on January 5, 2007

From Animation World Magazine:
A small group of animators has emerged from Canada's Mecca of the East most notably Helen Hill, a former California Institute of the Arts student who now teaches courses at the AFC and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Hill has fashioned a deceptively primitive body of work that is best described as quirky and unpretentious portraits of highly personal journeys into lands foreign and exotic, yet strangely familiar. Hill's most recent film, Mouseholes is a moving, comic-poetic tribute to her grandfather that merges cut-out and live-action with actual interviews between Helen and her grandfather along with snippets of dialogue from the funeral.
posted by ColdChef at 7:26 PM on January 5, 2007

goddam awful.
posted by Busithoth at 7:28 PM on January 5, 2007

posted by suckerpunch at 7:37 PM on January 5, 2007

I'm not sure if I've ever met Helen, but I'm completely sure I've met her husband. May she rest in peace, and may he heal completely and find his own peace in the future.
posted by suckerpunch at 7:49 PM on January 5, 2007

This makes me want to sob and grind my teeth and wring somebody's neck. Not merely for the human tragedy, which would weigh the same whoever the victims happened to be, but because these people gave so much of themselves to the city they must have loved terribly. The loss is redoubled.

Also, Science!, please kindly go fuck yourself, thanks.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:50 PM on January 5, 2007

Jesus, it's like Chernobyl but with gangs.
posted by The Straightener at 7:52 PM on January 5, 2007

I guess it's impossible to eulogize someone from New Orleans without it turning into a referendum on whether the city deserves to live itself. Carry on, I'm done.
posted by ColdChef at 7:57 PM on January 5, 2007

Ah God. What a heartbreaker. So, so sorry to hear about this lovely person and to hear of her loss at the same moment.
posted by ottereroticist at 7:59 PM on January 5, 2007

Is there no idea about motive? Or is that the whole point of the post?
posted by kisch mokusch at 8:00 PM on January 5, 2007

thanks for sharing this post, however unpleasent , with us coldchef.

reading about how much their community ment to them , what they did for themselves and those around them under such difficult circumstances, never giving up. i'm so sad that this is how i'm getting to meet them.
posted by nola at 8:02 PM on January 5, 2007

there is no report on motive. police are withholding their thoughts, and asking for witnesses to come forward instead. you'd think it was targeting, or a robbery gone awry. but the targeting scenario would be hard to stomach.

The drummer from Hot 8 was also shot early this year. accident, the gunman was going for his stepson.
posted by eustatic at 8:12 PM on January 5, 2007

I wonder is it just that the NO police force is still so decimated and ineffective, that murdering types feel free to run rampant? The bit about the wounded husband clutching his little (unhurt) son--Jesus god, that wrenched my guts out. That poor little boy, that poor man.
posted by emjaybee at 8:12 PM on January 5, 2007

I have been haunted by this story all day. I actually almost posted something about it and I'm glad I didn't because ColdChef's post is a great tribute. New Orleanians react very strongly to these sorts of events, because this community is desparate for people like Helen Hill and her husband.

Everything that occurs in this city is interpreted in light of Katrina. The fact is, however, that murders like this did take place every once in a while pre-K.

As a New Orleanian, I have to keep stopping myself from sinking into that Post-K mindset and understand that every little tragedy that occurs is not necessarily an indicator of the larger tragedy that took place a a year and three months ago. There are still lovely people here that mourn while maintaining a strong will to recover.
posted by Pacheco at 8:17 PM on January 5, 2007

I thought of the same thing about the father and his small child. It is terribly heartbreaking and tragic that the mother was killed, but I can't help to think how fortunate the husband was to survive. He was shot three times. I hope he and his son are able to find happiness and peace in the future.

To eparchos, you are right. I was quick to speak.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:19 PM on January 5, 2007

The fact is, however, that murders like this did take place every once in a while pre-K.

I've never even been to the US, let alone New Orleans, but I do remember reading this Time article a while ago that suggested crime was pretty bad there pre-Katrina.
posted by kisch mokusch at 8:23 PM on January 5, 2007

Friends said there were reports Hill pleaded for the safety of her child before being shot. Brad Ott, who has known the couple for 14 years, said Gailiunas heard his wife scream from the front room of their house while he slept with the little boy. He raced toward her, but saw someone and fled to the bathroom with his son where he was then shot repeatedly...Friends and colleagues were stunned when the news began trickling out that the couple known for their devotion to helping the poor were the victims of an apparent random shooting..."They looked after the poor and the dispossessed. . . . They're just such bright spirits that losing Helen is like a light's gone out in New Orleans."
posted by ColdChef at 8:24 PM on January 5, 2007

“She was a wonderfully compassionate, loving, liberal person,” he said Thursday. “There was not a selfish bone in her body. That is what is so horrifyingly tragic about this. If there was anyone on the face of this Earth who did not deserve this, it was Helen.
posted by ColdChef at 8:30 PM on January 5, 2007

posted by phaedon at 8:35 PM on January 5, 2007

As to the motive:
I live a block from this; the sirens woke me up Thursday morning at 5:30. They lived in the house on the next corner. I walked down and talked to a friend who lives in the middle of that block, and one of the cops. What happened, according to them - and it differs a bit from what the press is reporting - was that at 4:30 that morning a guest at the bed & breakfast in the middle of that block (next to my friends house) was awoken by a knock on her bedroom door; she opened to find a black man pointing a gun at her. She slammed the door in his face, screamed, the police were called, 3 responded within minutes (including the officer I spoke to). The burglar/robber got away, he'd broken in through a window at the back of the bed & breakfast.
The assumption is that the robber went into the backyard of Paul & Helen's house to hide, then later broke in, apparently still with robbery as his motive.

I didn't know them, had just seen them pushing the kid around in his stroller a few times but was struck by how friendly they were - they always smiled and said hello.

As for the "Bloodied Knees," I concluded a while back that the Times-Picayune has a drama queen writing banner headlines.
posted by custis at 8:45 PM on January 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

More of life in New Orleans.
posted by bukharin at 8:48 PM on January 5, 2007

This is unbearabley sad.
posted by maryh at 8:51 PM on January 5, 2007

Like pre-Katrina was some sort of utopia?

I liked it. I miss it. This story is just terrible.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:55 PM on January 5, 2007

Question for the NO folks-- is it getting better or worse, do you think?
posted by empath at 9:09 PM on January 5, 2007

Just found out this couple were dear friends of my best friend, who lives in N.O.

That town, I will put forth, is fucking evil.

posted by gcbv at 9:17 PM on January 5, 2007

“The two of them together were pretty unique characters. They were quirky and odd enough that people would recognize them wherever they went, and they were friendly and open enough that almost everyone actually knew them personally. They were super kind and generous.”
“She was relentlessly positive, the most optimistic person I've come across in my life,” said Lee Anne Gillan, a friend and filmmaker. “She saw the good and talent in everybody. She thought everyone could make something of themselves. She really inspired people to make art, had no ideas about who could be an artist and who couldn't.
posted by ColdChef at 9:24 PM on January 5, 2007

That's terrible. She was clearly a wonderful person.

As a former resident who will always love the city all I can say is keep your chin up folks. New Orleans can be a magical and awful place, good luck.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:28 PM on January 5, 2007

That town, I will put forth, is fucking evil.

Evil is tad strrong. Violent is perhaps more accurate. And it was bad long before last year's storm.

I knew a girl in the 1980's who did her residency at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Stabblngs. shootings. etc. were regular fare for an ER doctor. She got a post-residency fellowship at Charity Hospital in NO. I visited her one month after she started and she looked shell-shocked. "They shoot each other in Atlanta," I remember her saying, "but they use machine guns here."

Katrina just let all the animals out of the zoo.
posted by three blind mice at 9:29 PM on January 5, 2007

This post (and the subsequent comment with link to flickr) finally outed me from my comfortable lurking position.

I take photos. The flickr site and the random set of images made me feel the absoluteness of death and the fleeting nature of life, and I immediately felt the need to become a real member of this community to comment.

I love you all. The knowledge that you are out there, somewhere, has kept me going strong for many months. Hopefully many more to come. The poster has transformed grief into something very powerful via Metafilter.

I think what I am trying to say, in many more words, is:

posted by zapatosunidos at 9:36 PM on January 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

posted by treepour at 9:36 PM on January 5, 2007

From this site, linked above:
I won't say the city killed her,
because it was a man, or men-
neglected and abused by a system
that transformed them into murderers.
My friend Jai says that she was the
kind of person who would have
forgiven them
I think he's right, but I hope
they get caught and go down,
and soon.
I'm trying so hard to not have
hard and bitter thoughts right now-
trying to send Paul and Francis
love and hope instead..

posted by ColdChef at 9:43 PM on January 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


(And ColdChef, you're an awesome human being. Thanks for existing.)
posted by grabbingsand at 9:52 PM on January 5, 2007

posted by Mandatory Chapel at 9:59 PM on January 5, 2007

posted by yhbc at 10:04 PM on January 5, 2007

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:41 PM on January 5, 2007

If you want a beating going to New Orleans is a sure way. Between the thugs that prey on drunks and the Brazil type levels of corruption in the police force I'm shocked that people actually live there.
posted by Sukiari at 10:55 PM on January 5, 2007

"Your comments should be deleted and you should be banned from the blue for your stunning ignorance and rudeness.

We are recovering here. This is a struggle - did anyone really expect it not to be? While tragedies like this sicken me, they are not the whole story, and New Orleans remains vital, and is improving, slowly - despite the apathy and scorn of people like you."

Listen, lad, I built this kingdom up from nothing. All I had when

I started was swamp ... other kings said I was daft to build a

castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same ... just to show 'em.

It sank into the swamp. So I built a another one ... that sank

into the swamp. I built another one ... That fell over and THEN

sank into the swamp .... So I built another ... and that stayed up.

... And that's what your gonna get, lad: the most powerful kingdom in this island.
posted by Sukiari at 11:02 PM on January 5, 2007

One of my best friends is a cop here (in NO). He's really, really freaked out about this - as they should be, and as everyone is. New Orleans has had a horrifying per capita murder rate since Katrina, but almost all of them are drug related. That's part of why so many murders go unsolved - the victims and witnesses are also part of the drug industry, which has exploded since the storm. These were good people with honest lives, and they were killed in their home. That's really, really upsetting to the whole city.

gcbv: I have seen both the best and worst of humanity from port-Katrina New Orleanians. Do not even think about blaming it on the city. Yes, it's always been a place that's been home to some awful people and some weird crimes. (Remember this one? It's also always been a place of amazing creativity and love and tolerance. I've always felt like people were at their most human here - for better or worse.

Question for the NO folks-- is it getting better or worse, do you think?

I'd say worse, and most of my friends feel the same way. Maybe I'm just stunned in the aftermath but it seems like general crime has been worse as well as drug-related stuff. People I know keep getting mugged (or attempted) and my roommate's car was broken into a week ago. I'm a rabid defender of the city, and I don't like to admit it, but I'm scared. The cop friend is pushing me to buy a gun and get a conceal permit. I absolutely hate guns - and I think I'm probably going to do it.
Thoughts, other NOians?
posted by honeydew at 11:10 PM on January 5, 2007

posted by FunkyHelix at 11:14 PM on January 5, 2007

I've been in New Orleans for more than half a year now. I have not been beaten once. My wallet once fell out of my pocket near my door at night and it was still there the next morning. Businesses are opening in my area of the city (Mid-City, but on a nearly full street) constantly now, about five new restaurants have opened down the road from me over the course of a month, etc.

And then there's this: When living in a smaller city in Georgia previousy, I was struck while walking by either a hit and run driver or gosh knows what (can't remember--maybe a failed mugging or something, although my wallet was on me) that left me with a still-numb lower lip over a year later, a still occasionally weird feeling scalp (well, the left side) and a few, thankfully barely noticeable facial scars (great plastic surgeon).

Otherwise, I have no commentary on this except to say it's unfortunate, a awful thing to read about, a pathetic stupid thing. Thank you.
posted by raysmj at 11:16 PM on January 5, 2007

Sukiari: Funny, I've lived here off and on most of my life without getting a beating. Didn't manage that when I lived in Atlanta, or even Nowheresville, Kentucky.

Also, Jesus fucking christ, would you lay off the policemen? It's a really hard city to be a policeman in, and they have a bad reputation for corruption from the Huey Long days. You can't make generalizations like that, in the same way you can't just call New Orleans an evil city. Welcome to reality, where you don't usually find things like complete, untainted good and evil.
posted by honeydew at 11:17 PM on January 5, 2007

How small the world is. Helen Hill is in my extended network. That is, she is friends of friends. Or...was...I suppose...

We both lived in the same upperclassmen House at Harvard at the same time although I can't say that I knew her. What a horrible tragedy.
posted by vacapinta at 11:18 PM on January 5, 2007

posted by rougy at 11:19 PM on January 5, 2007

That town, I will put forth, is fucking evil.
posted by gcbv

That town is one of the most beautiful, colorful, unique places in the U.S. That you can't recognize the difference between an evil town and evil people is a shame, and your loss.
posted by justgary at 11:43 PM on January 5, 2007

posted by JujuB at 11:43 PM on January 5, 2007

It's a really hard city to be a policeman in, and they have a bad reputation for corruption from the Huey Long days.

I hope you're not implying that it was all sunshine and roses between Huey Long and today.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:13 AM on January 6, 2007

ColdChef this is gut wrenching. It just is not getting any better is it?
posted by arse_hat at 1:09 AM on January 6, 2007

You know, one can clean up the people who live in city, ala New York. Such aggressive tactics are not appropriate all the time, but they sound appropriate in Nen Orleans right now.

I think the real problem is that New Orleans itself lacks the money & buisness of New York. So no one wants to pay for busting up the gangs. But how much did it really cost to clean up New York?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:09 AM on January 6, 2007

I think the real problem is that New Orleans itself lacks the money & buisness of New York. So no one wants to pay for busting up the gangs. But how much did it really cost to clean up New York?

I, personally, think the real problem is a combination of this and this and this and this.... etc....
New York didn't have a disaster on this scale strike an already impoverished and volatile city.
posted by eparchos at 1:49 AM on January 6, 2007

honeydew, that story you linked to is astonishing, and utterly tragic (though in a completely different sense than the achingly sad news of helen hill's murder). i'd not heard about it. seems like it would make for an amazing screenplay... gothic horror, a descent into madness that could stand as a bleak metaphor for the destruction, abandonment and suffering of NO itself. i hope the city survives, and with the people who are strong enough to bring it back to life in coming years, flourishes.

and i hope you do not ever truly need a gun, whatever your decision on owning one may be.
posted by lapolla at 5:40 AM on January 6, 2007

arse_hat: Is ColdChef now the official spokesperson for all New Orleans residents or something? Why not read what he and all the others have said here. I agree with others who've said something to the effect of the following: It's getting better, but it's slow. And it's wayyy too slow, and the *old* crime problem is another thing standing in the way, almost certainly made more intractable by the city's other problems.

BUT from the vantage point of areas such as Mid-City (which was not only "brought to its (bloodied or otherwise) knees" during Katrina, but knocked straight to the ground, it's hard not see things as improving. There is, I can tell you given that I'm studying such matters daily, a feverish amount of neighborhood based civic activity in this area and others nearby (Gentilly, Braodmoor), where there wasn't before.

Now, if all you want to hear from is one person or have your worst idea confirmed from whoever or whatever press person (and I'm still reading crap such as ... well, check out the opening to this article--he's saying this even though predominantly white areas were blown out and unprotected as well; why bother to check out the facts or visit the city you're writing about when you can talk out of your ass based on news reports and be taken seriously as a prof anyway), go ahead. But if you ask multiple people on any given day, or time of day, you'll get a variety of opinions. I can show you the anonymously filled out survey forms if you don't believe me.
posted by raysmj at 5:59 AM on January 6, 2007

> I think the real problem is that New Orleans itself lacks the money & buisness of New York.

That right there is NO's worst problem, even more fundamental that hurricanes, subsiding land and sliding into the gulf. A city without enough business to support itself is headed for reduced size and importance. "Disasters rarely interrupt growth in a thriving city, while disaster reconstruction rarely prevents decay in a stagnant one."
posted by jfuller at 6:17 AM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I was out at the Marigny for a private party last night. And the crowds and cards were out in full force.

(Off topic: Who gives a shit what columnists for Slate have to say about anything, practically?)
posted by raysmj at 6:38 AM on January 6, 2007

The victims seem to have been committed to helping the such, I´ll post this link I came across, regarding the need for teachers, starting fall 2007.
posted by iamck at 7:28 AM on January 6, 2007

Someone saw that article link as a deserving of a favorite note, I see. Please note that no city in America has ever faced a disaster of the extent faced in New Orleans. If you want to read a better account of how cities have faced and recovered from disaster, and without the vaipd pop journalism (at a site known for its contrarianism and running the increasingly asinine Christopher Hitchens) intro that compares a city with a Dire Straits CD or whatever, please read The Resilient City and get yourself educated, thanks. Much more there, and more thorough, regarding how cities have responded in capitalistic societies to disaster (real estate drives the market, and no city has ever willingly dramatically shrunk its own boundaries, ever--and citizens here are already talking about developing green spaces on their own. See, the amazing Friends of Lafitte Corridor, which has managed to receive grants for developing an exercise trail and green space near an area where a film studio is set to be built).
posted by raysmj at 7:28 AM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

at a site known for its contrarianism and running the increasingly asinine Christopher Hitchens

but I love him.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:20 AM on January 6, 2007

> Please note that no city in America has ever faced a disaster of the extent faced in New Orleans.

Oh come on. The Galveston Hurricane? The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire?
posted by jfuller at 8:58 AM on January 6, 2007

raysmj, no need to be defensive. I have always thought that New Orleans would survive, but it was more a matter of a New Orleans rather than the New Orleans. The industry and port employment had long fled the city anyway, one reason for the massive poverty. It is my contention that Nagin and other recovery leaders should have recognized immediately that New Orleans (and environs, not to overlook the context) had been permanently halved in population and economic potential, and plans should be designed accordingly.

Of course, given the mess that recovery has been, from private insurance to FEMA to reconstruction loans, it may not have made that much difference. But I still think that a plan designed as if the old New Orleans can somehow be brought back in all ways, only better, is doomed.

The recovery shouldn't be "bring the city back" but "make the city work".

Sounds like that's just what this couple, and you, and everyone else posting here from NOLA, are doing, and I wish you the best of luck.
posted by dhartung at 9:06 AM on January 6, 2007

You can't make generalizations like that

Yes. You. Can.

The exceptions prove the rule. NO has had one of, if not THE, worst rated Police Forces in the nation for forty years.

Is NO evil. No place is evil. Well. Crawford Texas comes close.
posted by tkchrist at 9:20 AM on January 6, 2007

I'm not being defensive, if you care to read carefully. I've researched all this extensively in recent months, and the ULI report was according to that very institution only meant as a guide, not a formal proposal. I don't think Nagin's ideas for recovery are sound or the smartest, but they're completely understandable from a political standpoint, and the history of disaster recovery in the capitalistic world. No city has *ever* willingly shrunk its own boundaries, ever, anywhere. And the ULI report only really suggested added more green spaces and whatnot, not closing off large swaths of the city. That's been misunderstood not only at the local level (given that the Times Picayune's graphs of the proposals showed giant large green dots where smaller proposals were on the actual proposal), but by academics at major institutions elsewhere, hack pundits for crap emporiums like Slate, etc.

Please note, meanwhile, that closing off large swaths of the city (which the ULI did not do) would require the city or some designated quasi-governmental authority (as proposed by the ULI for green space) to have extensive eminent domain powers. And eminent domain powers here have been restricted by a state constitutional amendment, thanks to the backlash over Kelo v. New London. Local govts. here now will have a hard time declaring property blighted, no matter how damaged. So closing off large swaths wouldn't be possible anyway.
posted by raysmj at 9:50 AM on January 6, 2007

I'm of the mind, by the way, that decisions could theoretically be made about green space will be made after infrastructure funding decisions are made. But the money for more parkland isn't there right now. It's not even there yet for frickin' City Park, the fifth largest park in the U.S. So residents are largely on their own there, with ideas like the Lafittte Corridor thing. Grants must be applied for, groups must compete for funding like everyone else, in a disaster-stricken city or not.
posted by raysmj at 9:53 AM on January 6, 2007

Question for the NO folks-- is it getting better or worse, do you think?

It's getting worse, definitely. People are weary, scared, and getting pissed.

The Guardian Angels (.pdf) made an appearance in the Marigny in October but I haven't heard anything about them since.
Last week a would-be robber was shot in a Mid-City bar and as he lay dying patrons pelted him with beer bottles and a bar stool.
A march & rally (flyer mirrored on my server to save someone else's bandwidth. link here.) are planned for next Thursday - hopefully that will get someone's attention.

You have to realize - for the first seven months or so after Katrina, we had essentially no crime and people got used to feeling safe in a city where many never had before. Then the violence came roaring back and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. I'm hearing more and more people talking about getting concealed carry permits. If the tension doesn't break soon I'm afraid that we're going to start seeing some serious vigilante shit.

I love this city. It's been my home for years and there was never any doubt I'd come back after evacuation. I came back as early as I could and would have come back sooner if circumstances had permitted. But this stuff has me unnerved.
I snipped the rest of my rant because there's really nothing more to say.
posted by djeo at 9:54 AM on January 6, 2007

They sound like wonderful people. What a terrible loss.

posted by jokeefe at 11:47 AM on January 6, 2007

"You can't make generalizations like that, in the same way you can't just call New Orleans an evil city."

Sure I can. Will YOU try to stop me?

I never said it's an evil city. The cops are just as corrupt now as ever - did you watch the video the AP shot of the older schoolteacher getting his ass kicked? And the fat stupid Bubba cop threatened the AP for filming in 'his town.'

But I will say it's a stupid city. It has been swamped before. And it will be swamped again. For Science sakes, who builds a city in a bowl next to the ocean? I know, I know - the French. But that's no excuse to keep living there! Hell, back in the early 1700's the French realized that it's a flood prone area.

I guess it's a grand story of human courage and the ability for us to overcome obstacles when you move BACK INTO a flood prone area, knowing full well that it will flood again.
posted by Sukiari at 12:03 PM on January 6, 2007

Last week a would-be robber was shot in a Mid-City bar and as he lay dying patrons pelted him with beer bottles and a bar stool.


It strikes me that this thread goes on about what a huge tragedy this is - and it is - but very little outrage as to the person who did this; the shooter.

The idea of someone pumping bullets into a father trying to save his child makes it difficult for me to even concentrate. Just another murder, I suppose; I myself live in a smaller city where gun crime has shot up in recent weeks, where a 7-year-old girl was shot last week. And it's the usual thing - no suspects, no one wants to talk, "stop snitching," all the usual f*cking bullshit that is so goddamned offensive at any time but when a f*cking child is involved becomes a downright obscenity.

But then - what? What do you do with a thug who shoots wildly, hitting a 7-year-old girl? What do you do with someone who breaks into a home and shoots parents trying to protect their kid? Vengeance? Is that the answer? Or do we all just f*cking absorb it, because it's just too bad, and think of the trauma inflicted by Katrina, etc.?
posted by kgasmart at 12:56 PM on January 6, 2007

I immediately called b of, an old friend, when I read about this on his blog. I can't really adequately express my shock and concern for him and the city right now. He has been consistently writing about the twin problems of violence and poverty in the city since he and his wife returned; it's clear to me that he is really taken aback by this.

NO returnees, my heart and hopes go out to you all.

posted by mwhybark at 2:35 PM on January 6, 2007

It looks like Helen and Paul touched the lives of many people, including the arts community of Halifax, Nova Scotia where they called home five years ago. Here is a thread about the tragedy on a local music messageboard. Events are being organized as I type...and here are some regional news links dealing with the shooting:

Filmmaker's slaying shocks Halifax community | CBC Nova Scotia

Halifax-born doctor shot, wife murdered | The Chronicle Herald

Tragedy in New Orleans | The Daily News
posted by boost ventilator at 4:05 PM on January 6, 2007

They were Canadians (him by birth, her by naturalization-- she took Canadian citizenship). This is front page, national news here.

The more I read about them the more admirable they seem, and I don't mean that in the sense that death makes people's friends into hypocrites, or however the quote goes. They sound like people I would have been proud to know.
posted by jokeefe at 4:16 PM on January 6, 2007

posted by superchris at 4:16 PM on January 6, 2007

Halifax Remembers Helen Hill
posted by boost ventilator at 4:22 PM on January 6, 2007

posted by shoepal at 10:03 PM on January 6, 2007

jokeefe, she really was all that the people are saying and more. Her mom would talk about her all the time and you know how mom's can be, but I distinctly remember meeting Helen for the first time and realizing her mother wasn't exaggerating.
posted by shoepal at 10:15 PM on January 6, 2007

To the dude who earlier wrote about the geography of New Orleans: A substantial part of Tokyo also lies below sea level. And New Orleans was not built in a bowl--it became a series of bowls due to subsidience. And not all of it lies below sea level in any case, large swaths of it in Uptown, the French Quarter, the Metairie and Gentilly Ridges, Esplanade Ridge, etc., are not.

Meanwhile, for your edification, please read about how part of Sacramento could find itself 15 feet underwater if the substandard levees that protect it fail. That's far higher than any flooding that hit NOLA after flood control failures (and some storm surge overtopping of levees in modern-day suburban-ish but not suburbia-strictly-speaking Eastern New Orleans).
posted by raysmj at 10:39 PM on January 6, 2007

Psst: Sukiari, we get it -- you don't like New Orleans, you think it's "a stupid city."

But regardless of what you think, other people do like it, and will continue to do so...regardless of (and sometimes because of) just how senseless, silly, pointless, illogical, wasteful, dirty, sinful, swinging, corrupt, soulful, diverse, eclectic and goddamn joyous the town can seem.

So, you can keep on ripping on it in your superior tone, or you can let those of us who give a shit about the place get on with our business. It's your spare time. I'd like to hope we can keep this constructive.
posted by diastematic at 10:46 PM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

New Orleans has always had a very brutal and sadistic undercurrent, but so does humanity.
posted by quercus at 11:10 AM on January 7, 2007

posted by shoepal at 5:36 PM on January 7, 2007

Halifax, NS: Memorial jazz parade planned for murder victim | Chronicle Herald (Help out if you can)

Paul was the leader of Piggy, The Calypso Orchestra of the Maritimes.

This was written by Al Tuck when Helen and Paul left Halifax five years ago.
"Love Letter To Helen and Paul" (Al Tuck, 2001)

Goodbye, so long, farewell for now
You're gonna leave a big hole around here
But it's up to us to fill it up again somehow
It's up to us to fill it up again somehow

You live each day as if it was your last
May you have so many more and more and more
If we only will it, it may come to pass
If we only will it, it may come to pass

Hope to see you in New Orleans
Sit by the fountain of your love sweet love
You're like a couple of love-struck doves
Come over here, and give us a hug....
posted by boost ventilator at 6:18 AM on January 9, 2007

On top of this, linked from the bottom of the page, two N.O. police re-assigned after beating (a local grassroots activist they mistook for a pickpocket).
posted by nTeleKy at 9:06 AM on January 9, 2007

More links:


No Media Kings
posted by boost ventilator at 6:32 AM on January 10, 2007

Apparently this caught the attention of National Review.
posted by dgaicun at 4:28 PM on January 10, 2007

From the National Review article linked above:

You get the picture. These were not Republican voters. What happened to this young couple was unspeakably horrible, and there is of course no excusing such barbarism. It is hard, though, not to shake your head at the couple’s unworldly naivety. What kind of people did they think they were going to encounter when they got down and dirty with “the community”?

What a sorry piece of shit motherfucking asshole to write this about these two people who'd probably never had a bad word about anyone. He might as well have said that they wanted to die. What an idiot.

He shows his real stupidity later in the article when he takes his daughter to the fucking mall (because he doesn't know where he can find any other culture in New Orleans) and says, "This one didn’t even have a bookstore I could hang out in. Come to think of it, I didn’t see a bookstore the whole two days poking around New Orleans.""

You can't throw a pair of beads in New Orleans and not hit two bookstores and a Lucky Dog stand. Fuck this guy and his fucking ignorance. Two days in a town and he thinks he can judge it?

I have to admit that this made me laugh, though: Fixed to the iron railings outside one of the grand houses in the Garden District we spotted a small weather-beaten bronze plate, several decades old in appearance, inscribed as follows: “At this address in 1897, nothing happened.” What’s that all about?

Figures that this asswipe doesn't get the joke...
posted by ColdChef at 6:22 PM on January 11, 2007

b.rox interviewed by Anderson Cooper.
posted by ColdChef at 6:18 AM on January 12, 2007

A Song for Helen Hill
posted by ColdChef at 6:27 AM on January 12, 2007

Baghdad on the Mississippi?
We've been down this road before; violence is not new to the city. But the stakes are higher this time. The city's recovery is far from assured, and crime threatens to derail an already perilous rebuilding process. Thursday's march, with its broad mix of black and white, rich and poor, rising up to reclaim this beaten-down city, gave us catharsis; time will tell if it gives us anything more than that.
posted by ColdChef at 9:12 PM on January 12, 2007

Lieberman punts on Katrina.
posted by homunculus at 10:03 PM on January 12, 2007

« Older A big puck up!   |   It may be just a game, but it's serious business. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments