I won’t address yesterday’s Mother’s Day massacre because it’s not unlike the violence that is pervasive in our city’s streets any other day of the week. Clearly, many of you don’t want to address it either. I’ve read so many tweets about not letting the shootings destroy our love for a good ol’ second line. Man, mothafuck a second line. That’s the problem with this city. That’s the problem with America. Everyone’s always so concerned with returning to a state of normalcy as not to let the “terrorists” win, that the root of violence gets ignored.
. . . And mothafuck this laissez-faire attitude that sweeps corruption under the rug.
I recently read a quote from this city’s administration about the long-standing problem with violence in The Big Easy. Well, if some of you don’t recall, we were on the upswing about 15 years ago. The Morial administration lowered NOLA crime rates successfully with Chief Richard Pennington. Don’t think it’s impossible, it’s very fucking possible. Click the pic, if you need proof:
So contrary to what some of our city’s administrators seem to think, a quick turnaround for this city can happen long before 2018. And all of us don’t have to decide to do something about it for the senseless violence to cease. But, what do you expect when you live in a city that trains prisoners to be more skillful criminals inside than they were on the outside? I’ve heard solutions like maybe we need a stronger military presence like we had post-flood of 2005. Really? More guns is the answer? I have a solution that’s simple, safe, and attainable: Let’s clean up the dirty politics and prioritize education and employment.
So what do we do? Pray and leave it in God’s hands? Hope that the faulty system miraculously gets better? Should citizens who’ve done well for themselves go into the communities and counsel at-risk youth? I think the regular folks — no matter how earnest in their attempts — will hit a wall trying to offer encouragement and support on a personal basis. For even if you can change a child’s outlook, they still have to deal with this cold, cruel world. It’s not the caring citizens that created the problem, so I think it’s futile for them to try to resolve it. It’s damn near impossible for the “good” folk of the community to eradicate a construct they haven’t erected. So I suggest you don’t fall prey to feeling guilted into thinking there is something more you can do. Martyrdom is not the answer. Most martyrs reach the same end and the world continues to be a fucked up place. Why sacrifice your peace and sanity for a hopeless cause? That’s not to say don’t help others, but focus your energies in tangible ways that can affect change. Put pressure on the Big Boys to take care of the Big Problems. We must hold our leaders accountable.
What we see every day on the streets of New Orleans is a microcosm of what’s both beautiful and ugly about America. It has been said that New Orleans is the soul of the United States. I find that to be true in many ways —geographically, spiritually, and otherwise. By the mouth of the Delta, we feed this country through our tributaries of tradition and contradiction. The Crescent City is the cradle of birth and death. But because we celebrate life and its passing does not mean we must overindulge in decadence to the point of our demise. As long as we continue to pacify our sins in the roux of the Mighty Mississippi, we will find ourselves gridlocked between the trinity of lust, shame, and abstinence. We say “New Orleans,” but it might as well be called “Old Orleans” because most people who live here are content with repeating the same shit. You can’t be new unless you are willing to do away with old patterns. You can’t realize a better version of yourself until you are fearless enough to shed the dead skin.
Yeah, we celebrate death until it is our time to die so that we may reach our highest potential. To our detriment, we’re killing all the good shit and letting the bad stuff survive. That’s not New Orleans, that’s Old Orleans — afraid to be the best it can be.
I wish I had a better ending to the story, but that depends on you mothafuckas.
– Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop