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New Orleans ca. January 2007

I started Back Of Town.  So, I love Treme, but simultaneously harbor a small fear that New Orleans and its post-Katrina history will henceforth be viewed solely through the lens of the show. The story must be told. It’s just a television show. The story is told very well in this tv show for the most part. New Orleans is New Orleans, however; she was, is and will be long away from the Treme treatment. An important point, that I consider from time to time and warrants further discussion, but not why I came here today.

This last episode from early 2007 brought back a lot of happy and painful memories. In the Treme Time Scale, D and I were married between last week’s episode and tonight’s, honeymooned in New York City and returned to the news that Dinerral Shavers and Helen Hill had been murdered and were we going to participate in the march on City Hall?



Early 2007 was such a blur. I remember blogging away furiously while switching assignments at work. And I remember this mask, because I made and wore it for Mardi Gras 2007. Its theme: Crime & Recovery a.k.a. Babies With Guns (and booze and women. Yeah, babes with babes. It wasn’t referred to as the Triple Entendre mask for nothing.). Also reminds me that I need to unpack it to make sure it made it across the country alright.

Mask 2007 Rests

A baby killed Dinerral Shavers while really out to get Dick’s step-baby. (Not only do these children shoot each other to settle beefs, they have no fraking aim. It’s gangster-movie-comical if not for the awful consequences.) And the city did nothing, NOTHING about it. This I will never forgive. I often think of an alternate history of New Orleans in which Ray Nagin lost the 2006 mayoral election. Apparently, so does James Gill.

For various reasons, I’ve been re-reading the posts from those days. I venture a guess that a number of us are.

And what about these days?

7 comments… add one
  • Clay May 23, 2011, 10:22 PM

    I remember that time quite well. It was shortly after I started up the ole blog. LOTS of crime blogging at that time.


    One interesting post from that time. Know anybody working cold case on NOPD on the Helen Hill murder?

    • Maitri May 23, 2011, 10:29 PM

      That would be you, by the looks of it. What’s the statute of limitations on Disappointment In NOPD?

      I heard from Nakita Shavers that 48 Hours is going to take another look at Dinerral’s murder, this time in the context of Treme. Wonder if anyone in that circle can help do something with this.

  • liprap May 24, 2011, 12:53 PM

    I do recall there being loads of suspicion cast on Paul Gailiunas, who was shot while protecting his and Hill’s young son, by the NOPD. It was awful and too much the easy way out for the police. It is no wonder he and his son haven’t returned here, which is a damned shame, because Helen Hill did want to be a part of rebuilding the city.

    And as for a new light being shed on these cases, I doubt that the NOPD will really lift a finger. I hate feeling that way with every bone in my body, but I am not optimistic. 8-(

  • jeffrey May 26, 2011, 7:10 PM

    “a small fear that New Orleans and its post-Katrina history will henceforth be viewed solely through the lens of the show.”

    I have a large fear.. well not fear.. just general resigned loathing that this will be the case. It’s worse than that though since the “lens” through which the show and its surrounding cult views the city and this time period is shaped by people who romanticize that time (or who if they were living here during it romanticized their experience then) as though life itself was some exciting TV production. And so the Treme phenomenon is really a reflecting back of an already false image which will in turn inform future false impressions in a never ending compound douche explosion. And anyway didn’t I already say this would happen?

    • Maitri May 26, 2011, 7:52 PM

      I KNEW you’d take the yellow bait.

      Don’t forget to count your response to the spectacle in the spectacle as spectacle. And, hey, as long as you keep chronicling the douchery, we’ll be alright. Every system is self-correcting yadda yadda.

      New Orleans is a lot bigger than Treme, NOLA bloggers, even Katrina itself, and you of all people should know this. If the city doesn’t have that level of endurance, what the hell do we love so much about it?

      • Clay May 29, 2011, 1:09 PM

        The people that were murdered in that time period was such a loss to the city. Helen Hill. Robin Malta. Chris Roberts (worked at Confederate Motorcycles – http://noladishu.blogspot.com/2007/06/chris-roberts-rip.html ). Chris had just finished speed-testing a new, high-end motorbike at freaking bonneville, had a new wife with a baby on the way, and POOF, there goes his life. No more.

        I’m actually sort of glad they were as graphic as they were on the LaDonna rape. Economic crimes (robbery, burglary) and drug crimes are one thing. When you commit a violent felony (forcible rape, murder), you’re a sick fucker.

        Eh, in the end it is fiction and some things have to be smoothed out for storytelling purposes, but it was a bad, bad time in this city’s history. If anything, I think they’re still soft-peddling NOPD brutality (not nearly enough beat downs) and how brutal the criminals in the city are (they need a flat out evildoer like Michael Anderson {quintuple homicide}).

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