The People

Shavers Hot 8 Brass

(The funeral for Dinerral Shavers, a drummer with the Hot 8 Brass Band, was held Saturday in New Orleans…Photo: Times Picayune)

25 year old Dinerral Shavers, the snare drummer for the Hot 8 Brass Band was shot on December 28 in his car in front of his family

Although critically wounded, Shavers continued driving four blocks up Dumaine before stopping.

By 6 p.m., Shavers lay motionless on his back in the middle of the street just outside the open driver’s side door as red and green holiday lights blinked rapidly on homes behind him, and a few patrons of the Magnolia Meat Market at the corner looked on.

Shavers was taken to a hospital, but died within an hour, police said.

This murder at the end of last year shook people in NOLA (read Ashley) and as the senseless murders continued into 2007 the people of New Orleans are grief stricken, frightened and outraged. The outrage hit a crescendo with the murder of Helen Hill on Thursday. (See previous post and click through on links to NOLA bloggers) There is this tribute site Helenhill.org and also see page after page of comments in the Times Picayune.

A march on City Hall is planned for Thursday in response…

nola march

Go read Loki for more on this.

Events forced Nagin to respond in a somewhat rare NOLA appearance (they don’t refer to him as “C Ray?” for nothing down there) but the mayor didn’t offer much…talked with The Ministers and thoughts of a possible curfew. Nagin attempted to counter the view he is disengaged from what is occurring in the city by saying

“If people don’t think that I’m working, I would love for them to follow me around for a day.

NOLA blogger Loki responds with…“I’d Love To!!”

I believe one of the local bloggers needs to take him up on his generous offer. Lets start holding him accountable for his improv routine! You can email the Mayor’s Office directly at sally.forman@mayorofno.com Do you think I should follow Ray for a day? With three other bloggers in tow? Let them know!

That I would like to see.

What strikes me again and again is that it is the people of New Orleans taking responsibility and leading the way in the rebuilding of their city. The obstacles from government at all levels has been many and maddening. Political leadership has been almost nonexistent. Supportive interest from most fellow Americans waned ever too quickly only to be bookended now by the extremes of the “Don’t use my tax dollar to rebuild” crowd, to the wonderful volunteers who go to NOLA on their own dime to gut homes.

Through it all the people of New Orleans have maintained their desperate foothold because they love their city. From attending and organizing the endless planning meetings, to gutting their own homes as well as those of friends, neighbors and strangers, to just refusing to leave in spite of hardships, they have led the way. I wish I could chalk this up to being typically American but more and more I see it as particular to New Orleans. Americans could learn much from the citizen activity of New Orleanians who give their sweat, blood and tears to save a city and are demanding accountability from their so called leaders. It’s so damn admirable. It deserves our respect and attention.

6 thoughts on “The People

  1. Sometimes you just gotta make a change for the sake of it. When the game is going to hell, sometimes the manager has to take the pitcher out just to redirect the momentum, even when the mess might not be the pitcher’s *fault*. It seems to me that something similar is needed in public safety in NOLA right now. JMHO.

  2. There are black and white ENOUGH signs popping up all through the neighborhood.
    JaneB – I agree with you. The one hopefull sign I see – not directly related to crime, is that this guy he’s Finally brought in to deal with the rebuilding issues appears to be top notch.
    But I gotta say – if Nagin is such a B’ness man I’d have thought he’d fire Riley – just to look like he was doing something…

  3. Scout, I’m going to repost the comment that I just left at The Oyster [righthandthief.blogspot.com]:
    I am so grieved by all the killings, that it’s been impossible for me to comment on the murders until today, the “uptick” in murders, as the mayor euphemistically refers to them.
    The murders are not Nagin’s “fault”, nor are they Police Chief Riley’s “fault”. The problem is that these two officials seem in denial about the severity of the murder problem. You cannot find the solution to a problem until you admit you have one.
    I’m afraid that New Orleans has elected its local version of George W. Bush, the man who lives in a bubble.
    If Nagin doesn’t get a grip and surround himself with people who know what the hell they’re doing, and then proceed to let them do it, then New Orleans will not recover. People will not come back, and many more will leave.

    Once again, the people of NOLA must attempt to force the folks in charge do their jobs.

  4. I don’t know enough about Nagin to comment on his performance. However, I’ve got to admit, his comment:
    “If people don’t think that I’m working, I would love for them to follow me around for a day.”
    That comment seems to echo Shrub taking his extended vacations in Crawford.

  5. “What strikes me again and again is that it is the people of New Orleans taking responsibility and leading the way in the rebuilding of their city.” I have no doubt that we are witnessing the surge of one of the most moving and beautiful examples of citizen activism in our history. I wonder out loud, if we, as a nation are mired in some behavorial denial, some characteristic inability to act embedded deep into our government’s personality? The citizens of today’s New Orleans are my heroes. Peace, Scout. Great post.

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