Filed Under:  Local, News, OpEd

Summer in the city

29th June 2011   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis, Editor
The Louisiana Weekly, Editor

With the long-awaited, racially explosive Danziger Bridge shooting trial finally under way, hurricane season entering its second month and no signs of a slowdown in the city’s murder rate, it promises to be a long, hot summer. In the midst of this maelstrom of perilous storms, violence and police brutality, we must still summon the focus and discipline to exercise our minds by asking the kinds of questions that matter most to us and have the power to make this a safer and more just city, state and nation. Let’s jump in.

• Who thinks the redistricting that is taking place in New Orleans will positively impact communities of color and lead to an expansion of educational and economic opportunities for those routinely left out of major decisions concerning the future of New Orleans?
• Why does the mayor need to tell grown men and women what to say in NORD Commission meetings?
• At the risk of sounding “gossipy,” what do you make of the persistent but unconfirmed rumors that suggest that the mayor won’t fire NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas because the police chief has a clandestine $750,000 termination clause in his contract?
• Michelle Bachmann for president? Really?
• Does anyone else think it is hysterical that several “stars” from the VH-1 reality show “Basketball Wives” will participate in a panel discussion at one of the Essence Music Festival’s “empowerment” seminars?
• Why do so many of the folks tapped to sit on panels during Essence empowerment seminars deliver more “eye candy” than “brain food”?
• Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mayor or governor who didn’t feel the need to relentlessly try to shield his or her office public scrutiny and was mature enough to admit to being human and making mistakes?
• As beautiful as the Louisiana Superdome looks, doesn’t it feel wrong to watch the Dome get two multimillion, post-Katrina makeovers when tens of thousands of New Orleanians are still displaced, thousands more were shortchanged by the Road Home program and the city’s homeless population continues to grow?
• It’s the Fourth of July and Essence Music Festival weekend: Do you know where the city’s homeless people have been hidden?
• Why are some of the same media outlets who lambasted former Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan for indicting the “Danziger 7” for the murders of Ronald Madison and James Brissette now clamoring for justice in the case?
• What are the odds that some of the same residents from neighboring parishes who cheered for the “Danziger 7” and held up signs that read “Heroes” when they turned themselves in to authorities could now possibly be sitting in the federal courthouse as jurors in the racially charged case?
• Does anyone remember Levon Jones?
• How do those who continue to dance like there’s no tomorrow at Razzoo Bar & Patio think it makes the family, friends and classmates of Levon Jones feel?
• What would happen if every Essence Fest-goer decided to patronize a Black business every day that he or she is in New Orleans?
• Where is the governor’s tight-fisted fiscal conservatism when it comes to renovating the Louisiana Superdome, building a new state-of-the-art hospital in Mid-City and a proposal to add additional seating to LSU’s 92,000-seat “Death Valley” football stadium?
• After the governor’s failure to merge SUNO and UNO, consolidate the state’s higher education boards and dismantle cigarette taxes, are any potential gubernatorial candidates smelling “blood in the water”?
• Why was the GOP faithful who were laughing uncontrollably at the Obama impersonator in New Orleans at the Republican Leadership Conference so anxious to get the brother off the stage when he started clowning Republican presidential hopefuls?
• With some state legislators making it clear that they would still like to close or merge SUNO with another institution and the 2012 presidential campaign looming on the horizon, why aren’t we witnessing any voter registration and voter education campaigns?
• If professional athletes have to take random drug tests and some state legislators pushing for mandatory drug testing or those who receive food stamps, shouldn’t local elected officials, state legislators and those we send to Washington, D.C. also be required to submit to random drug testing?

This article originally published in the June 27, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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