This post is dedicated to everyone who wants to live, not be killed or watch people be killed in New Orleans, with no hope for justice.
Before the Eddie Jordan situation goes farther into the realm of race, politics and history, let’s talk about the case that brought on this latest bout of public outrage. A lawyer friend just told me that the Central City murder case should never have been accepted by the DA’s office at all. “It wasn’t a strong case, and it was wrong for the DA’s office to proceed with it. Now, they’re paying the consequences of a misjudgment, especially one surrounding such a high-profile killing.” If what my friend says is true (please give me more info), the DA’s office is still incompetent, for having taken on a weak case and not working with NOPD to establish stronger evidence and witnesses against the killer. But, I guess my friend’s point is that Jordan and his staff should not be taken to task over releasing Michael Anderson because of a missing (and possibly weak) witness, but instead for not rejecting the case and demanding further investigation months ago.
No, this is not the scapegoating of the lone Eddie Jordan. The entire triumvirate of NOPD, DA’s office and Mayor’s office stinks to high heaven, but New Orleans has to start somewhere, and the DA’s office — its ego and posturing, and its refusal to cooperate with other governmental agencies when this rebuilding city so badly needs to survive — is Stop 1. That Jordan uttered the words “it’s not my fault” shows that he refuses to accept even partial blame and that he think it’s all about him.
Now, on to race – Brian Denzer gave a great and passionate speech against D.A. Eddie Jordan at City Hall last afternoon, only to be rebuked by Mama D and the pro-Jordan “you hate us because we’re black” peanut gallery. What has to happen to get past this race divide so that justice can return to being truly blind? The centuries of injustice against black Americans is utterly palpable, even to me who is neither black nor white, but can we, for one post-Katrina/Flood moment, put that aside and give justice to New Orleanians lost and who are continuing to disappear from this planet? And what about the lads who died in Central City? Were they not black, too?
Defeated like Brian is how I often feel, powerless against an entrenched system and the really tight grip on power that politicians enjoy here (or anywhere in America, for that matter). After every instance of violation, violence or City Hall boondoggling, D and I echo one of Brian’s sentiments, “The more I feel defeated, the more I’m inclined to concede that you get the criminal justice system you deserve, and leave this magnificent city to its doom.”
What a luxury it is to feel this way, to say “I’m leaving” on every onslaught of defeat. Given my itinerant past, I’ve never really known home, but recognize and utterly respect the notion. My thoughts thus turn to those who cannot leave because this is home, the cost to start over is prohibitive, or just because they wouldn’t survive anywhere else. Don’t they deserve a criminal justice system that works? So, we stay and work for change, as long as our will, renewed and depleted daily, allows.