Saturday, March 3, 2012

New Orleans fight against crime featured on CNN homepage

Today CNN is featuring an article with the headline, "Fed up, New Orleans looks to shake Murder City title," and it includes the following facts with quote from a mother, Althea Phillips, who's lost all four of her sons to violence since 1992:
Only one killing was solved, that of Leniel Phillips, 29, who stood 4-foot-11 and went by "Shorty." He was killed in a 2005 fight with his wife's ex in Lafayette. The other three slayings -- still unsolved -- took place in New Orleans.

"I miss my children so much that it's unbearable. It takes me to the bed, the pain and the grief that I feel. I don't feel comfortable in this house anymore," she said at her St. Roch home. "When are (they) going to get (the killers)? When am I going to see them on the news? I want them to be held accountable for what they've done. They shattered my life -- again."
It sounds horrible that New Orleans is called "murder city," but when I was a teen the city had a similar name "death city," so called for two reasons: its many unique cemeteries and its murder rate.

The CNN article moves from a discussion of our depressing reality with a quote from Mayor Landrieu who's "called murder 'the single-most important issue facing our city'" to potential causes of the high murder rate and possible solutions to violent crime. Under potential causes, the article engages how views of race and the cold truths of poverty play a role in crime with some of those interviewed suggesting that young, poor black men in particular face a downard spiral of hopelessness--no jobs, no vision of a future. These are themes I approached in my video poem "Misery." Under possible solutions, the article mentions artistic outlets and mediation programs.

Here's the link to the main CNN article if you wish to read the full story, "the other side of New Orleans," and that article includes a link to another about a lamentable industry emerging from violent deaths in the city, that of "memorial shirts" aka "R.I.P tees."

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