I had an amazing day. Jesus, you couldn’t have asked for a better day – the weather was just absolutely perfect when J and I took my mama and ’em (Cootie and Infamaus) on a swamp tour for Mother’s Day. That post will come later, photos and all. Suffice it to say, for the time being, that it was a brilliant wonderful day.
When we got home, I took care of some biz in the kitchen…dish washing, but mainly getting the garbage out as tomorrow is trash day. To take out my garbage, I have to go down a flight of stairs to our insanely creepy basement (which is actually a garage, but that’s what a basement is, in these parts) and walk across the span of ooky dim-litness to the trash cans over by the garage door. While I was doing this, a memory of the dead cockroach sprawled legs-up in the middle of the walkway to our front stairs came to mind and it gave me the heebie jeebies but what it really did was make me think of vermin.
And what that made me think of, for the millionth time in the span it took for J and I to cross the Causeway and run an errand and get home, was the news that came at me today after our brilliant and beautiful foray into the wonderful nature of Louisiana.
We are rife with vermin down here.
Forget the cockroaches.
Forget the mosquitoes.
Forget the rats.
Forget the creepy weird stingy caterpillars that drop on you from trees this time of year.
Hell, forget nutria.
A handful of the vermin that I’m talking about opened fire on a second line parade in the 7th Ward today. A second line celebrating Mother’s Day. Can you imagine? Such a beautiful day. A perfect morning. Everyone gathering in the streets and dancing in honor of all the mamas and then BAM. Gunfire. Once again, the city’s problem children, the swaggering self-centered violent non-elite, caught an entire crowd of amazing New Orleanians in their spazzed out crossfire.
What’s the injured-count now? 19? No reported deaths, but many injuries. Christ. You wake up in the morning all ready to celebrate, and end up in an emergency room because the vermin has, my friends, struck again. Two among the injured were 9, 10 year-old kids. Poor moms. Your kid gets grazed by bullets and you spend the rest of the day, night, week, month, in anger and terror and outrage. Happy Mother’s Day, indeed.
Vermin. When we catch ’em, we can’t keep ’em. When we take 3 off the streets, ten more spring up in their place. Run rampant. Make life unlivable. You can’t walk down the street without looking over your shoulder, any better than someone with a bedbug problem can gain a night of peaceful and sound sleep. Vermin is my new term for the people on our streets who make our lives a living and paranoid hell, while adding yet more statistics to a city that has to constantly defend itself against the greater world view. VERMIN.
The greater world view. That peeves me off, too. The national media grabbed hold of this one instantly. Just as they did the shooting last Halloween on Bourbon St. Hell, my tribe in Colorado knew about this one before I did. I found out because they were reaching out. “Are you ok?” they ask. We had to hit the news sites to find out what we were supposed to be okay from. Crazy. But I can’t stand it, that the only time we are nationally looked at is when someone gets shot, stabbed, or maybe the power goes out somewhere important during an epic game. Ha. Truly though, bring your cameras down here for the parades that go right. For the amazing moments that, say, it’s pouring rain and Jamil Sharif is blowin’ trumpet at the Maison Bourbon. Or when someone’s lounging languidly on their porch in the heat of the afternoon breathing in the smell of the flowers that invades every whiff of air you get. Film dat for once. Balance it out. I’m tired of everyone looking down their noses at my city. Show the truth, absolutely. But there are multiple truths here.
And don’t try to pull this OMG GUN LAWS stuff on me. Yeah, it sucks that guns are available to the vermin. But if they didn’t have guns they’d find another way to screw things up. Would you rather be shot, or stabbed? I don’t know. But I can tell you that I personally feel better having our own handgun tucked away in the bedroom. And that is all I’ll say about that.
I am damn proud to live here. I love this place. I am pissed to no end, every single time these damn rats come out of their damn holes and shoot up a parade or a crowd or some wonderful person who just pulled up in front of their own house at the end of a long day cooking at a great restaurant for all the people that like us enough, still, to come visit. I’m pissed that people got hurt today. And yesterday. And the day before that. Did you know that, for every larger incident the media decides to acknowledge, others take place at the same time? In other ‘hoods, with smaller headcounts. Every day. Several, every day.
So rankled I could scream, that these people consistently smear their bloodstain on such a beautiful place. But you know, when I was that person sitting on my porch and smelling the air earlier, I watched a guy walk by, picking the purple flowers that grow on the vines that have taken over a fence in the empty lot across the street (the only remnants of houses that burned down just after Katrina). He bundled them all up and handed them to his little girl. Were they for her? Or for her to hand to her mama on this most honorable of days? Don’t know. But it was a moment of beauty amidst the rubble. It’s that kind of thing, at the tail-end of a great day with your family, that keeps you going.
Done with the rant. Kiss your loved ones, y’all. And keep screaming out against this vermin problem of ours. We need a big ol’ exterminator, us.