Lives Lost

Another day, another horrifying and senseless murder in the City that Care Forgot. Nia Robertson, a 28-year-old woman who worked for the Road Home program, had her throat slashed by a complete stranger at a bar in mid-City on Wednesday night. She died several hours later. How frightening and f-ed up is that? She was just sitting in the bar, hanging out with a friend, and an unstable man knifed the man sitting next to him and then walked over to her and slashed her throat. Then he slowly walked out of the bar and started walking home, where police arrested him.

Pablo Meija Jr., a third-generation New Orleanian, was shot execution style during a robbery in New Orleans East earlier this month. He was working as a contractor and renovating a flood-damaged home when three men came into the home, robbed him and his friend, and shot him while he knelt on the ground. His wife is currently nine months pregnant with their first child.

A 39-year-old business owner named Luong Nguyen and his 31-year-old wife, Angelique, were shot to death inside their home this month, also in New Orleans East. Nguyen's brother-in-law found them the next morning--their two-year-old son was laying next to their dead bodies. Their infant daughter was in another room.

Almost 115 murders so far this year. Mobile, Alabama, a city comparable to us in our post-K population, had 30 murders for the entirety of 2006. Things are bad here, and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. With the city averaging at least one murder every other day, how many more people will die before this year ends?

I'm not sure what to think anymore. I want to stay here--New Orleans has been my home for almost 10 years. But the daily horror is beginning to weigh on me. It's bad enough living in a recovery zone, if you can even call it that. But how do my husband and I continue to tell ourselves that this is an acceptable place to raise our daughter? I want her to grow up in a city that accepts people for who they are and places worth on their value as a person, not on the value of the car they drive, the job they have, or the home they own. New Orleans has always been such a city to me. But how do I reconcile the allure of living such a life in New Orleans with the ever-worsening reality of living a life filled with shock, horror and fear?

The news of murder after murder is oppressive--and, sadly these days, seems broken up only by news of political corruption and hurricanes heading towards the Gulf.

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