When crime becomes personal

By Frank/Michael McCormack

Sometime in late 2004, not long after moving to New Orleans, my wife, Jennifer, and a group of her friends were held at gunpoint by a young man looking for money.

The group, made up of three ladies and a baby, parked just off St. Charles Avenue, under a street light, across from a busy restaurant. As they exited the car, the young man walked up, gun drawn, and said, “Okay ladies, this is how it’s gonna be…”

The encounter lasted just a few moments, with Jennifer shielding the baby from the gunman, one girl dumping her purse out on the ground, assuring the man that she hadn’t looked at his face, and the third girl letting him know that they didn’t have any cash. She was holding a diaper bag, not a purse.

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Homeless, not hopeless

By Gary D. Myers

John* struggled as he walked through the food line at Ozanam Inn. The grimace on his
face hinted of his degenerative disc problem. John was grateful for the plate of food, but he couldn’t take the cup of lemonade that I offered. It was all he could do to shuffle through the line carrying his plate. As I watched him find a spot to eat, I was overwhelmed with compassion.

After John finished eating, I went out to talk with him and hear his story. I’ve heard quite a few sad stories from homeless men and women. Some stories seem true, but others do not. John’s story is sad, maybe not the saddest I’ve heard, and I’m convinced that his story is true.

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It’s all about context

By Gary D. Myers

I dig New Orleans history.

Literally, I dig it. On Jan. 7, I volunteered at an archaeological excavation in the French Quarter sponsored by the Greater New Orleans Archaeology Program at the University of New Orleans. It was a neat experience.

Three hundred years of occupation by several distinctly different cultures makes New Orleans a history-rich environment. There is much to learn in the soil of New Orleans, especially in the city’s oldest areas. But the oldest areas also happen to be prime real estate and the heart of the city’s artistic and cultural hullabaloo. These areas also bring in droves of big-spending tourists.

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Fireworks, Introspection and a New Year

By Gary D. Myers

I don’t watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop on TV anymore. I’ve seen it several dozen times. The TV is usually tuned to some old movie when Times Square rings in the New Year and it’s off by the time the New Year comes to New Orleans because I’m in bed.

Alas, going to bed early on New Year’s Eve is a always tragic and frustrating mistake in New Orleans. Every year I think, “I won’t make this mistake again.” But each year, weary from Christmas/New Year’s travel, I go to bed early on Dec. 31 hoping to catch up on my beauty rest and that’s when the fireworks start.

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