Friday, February 08, 2008

I am PISSED

Every day, generally, I check into a great "news" website, www.fark.com. They link news articles to sarcastic headlines. It's a great way to kill some time. Well, today, they had this headline, which linked to a story on www.nola.com: "New Orleans continues to make the case against rebuilding it" (this was also tagged "Obvious" by the people at Fark. http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/02/man_fatally_shot_in_lower_gard.html is the article, if you're interested.

What had me upset was, yeah, we're in trouble. Yeah, things aren't good. But it's not the whole city, and it's not everyone, and it's generally crimes committed against people the murderers know and sometimes innocent bystanders. You know, same thing in cities all over the world. Charles Grant, a New Orleans Saint, was an innocent bystander victim the other day. Outside a nightclub. He was stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle. IN GEORGIA.

You can't cover up these grisly stories. That would do everyone an injustice. But for crying out loud. Don't kick us while we're down. I love Fark. I love their headlines. Generally, when there's a story about New Orleans, the headlines are funny. It's not like I got so offended I'll never go back to the site. I'll go back tomorrow to see what else is new. In fact, that headline is NOT what has me so pissed off right now. I got over that quickly.

Why am I pissed? Because of what just happened that has me blogging at 1 a.m. Luckily, since it's Mardi Gras week, I'm off of school all week and don't have to get up early tomorrow. However, Mark, who has a cold, is still up because of this, and he DOES have work in the morning. Good thing he's not at WWL any more...otherwise he'd have to be to work in 4 hours.

I was sitting here at my computer, watching an instruction video for the Cat Genie...you've GOT to see this thing...it's a self-flushing, self-cleaning litter box. My idea of heaven, really... www.catgenie.com if you're interested.

Anyway, I heard four close together popping sounds. We live next to the Interstate, so we're used to weird noises. We just wound up Mardi Gras. We're used to weird noises. People were still shooting fireworks around here as of Endymion and the Super Bowl. For a split second, as I always do when cars backfire and when fireworks go off out of season, I thought, "GASP! GUNSHOTS!" Then I told myself I was overreacting and should continue watching this amazing video. Within a couple of minutes, a loud crashing sound happened. I called to Mark, who was in his office, and we both got up to investigate. We live at the end of a street. There are street signs posted warning of the dead end. Yet since we've lived here in May, we've been at home in time to hear what now amounts to THREE cars slamming through the signs and getting stuck in our yard. Usually, the people can't back up because the signs are stuck under their cars, and they have to pull up into our front yard and go through our driveway. But on two occasions, we've had both cars in the driveway, and they've had trouble getting out.

The loud crash was the sound of a car running through the signs again. And since we were both parked in the driveway, Mark went to see if the driver, who was frantically revving his engine, needed help, i.e., Mark moving his car. The closer Mark got, the faster he revved his engine. It was an old hoopty of a car. He peeled out, leaving a burning smell in the air, and managed to not hit Mark's car in the process. We tried to catch the plate numbers but missed. Our nice next-door neighbor, Brett, was outside on his cell phone calling it in. He also missed the plate. It was dark outside.

We went to talk to Brett, who, it seems, we only see when something weird happens in the neighborhood...like the 5 times trucks pulled down our power and/or cable lines, or when the meth kids across the street got busted and subsequently evicted. But our neighborhood is nice. Our section hasn't been overtaken by mini-mansions yet, and it has a lot of old people. There are rentals closer to the train tracks, but it's nice and quiet. Neighbors talk to each other and wave. In fact, we met another one tonight, who came out to see what the ruckus was.

Anyway, we could tell Brett was on 911. We heard him say, "There were four shots fired, poppoppoppop, and then a few minutes later, a car came screaming down the street, ran into the street signs in my neighbors' yard, got stuck, peeled out, and drove south down our street, then turned right."

Shots fired.

SHOTS FIRED!

It wasn't until we eventually came back inside that the enormity of the situation hit me. We live in a decent area. Mark was going to see if the guy needed help. His car didn't look like it belonged here...a gold four-door late '80s Chevy Malibu (according to Brett)...and the driver was kind of thuggy-looking. Now, we have a mostly white neighborhood, but there are several black families who live further down our street. He didn't look like any of them. Or like he would even be going to visit them. He definitely didn't belong here. Yet, being nice people in a nice neighborhood, he went to see if he could help. Thankfully, he didn't have anyone else in his car. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure we would have been shot at. If he fired four shots, chances are he would have two rounds left, right? Mark. Me. Or Brett, who has two young kids, a wife in the hospital, and his mother staying with him.

Time to feel awful, because the racial divides in this city are ridiculous -- Jefferson Parish cops pulled up within 4 minutes of Brett hanging up with them. At LEAST 5 squad cars passed us. Three blocked our street for the majority of the time. In fact, Mark went to make sure we'd locked up a little while ago, and he said he thinks the cops are patrolling the neighborhood because he saw one pass.

If this wasn't a predominantly white neighborhood, we'd still be waiting for the cops, and they probably wouldn't be patrolling still. Why is this fair that we should get this attention? It's not. It's disgusting. That's yet another reason why I'm pissed and blogging at...well now it's 1:30 a.m.

So here's what we're thinking. Something happened a few streets west of here...no more than about 3 or 4, I would assume. Other reports about shots being fired were from the street and possibly block that my uncle Dennis lives on with his fiancée, Kim. Guy got in his car to make a getaway, in the darkness couldn't see the road signs because they're already a little slanted from the last idiot who ran into them, and slammed into them and the no-longer-connected-to-any-wires telephone pole that's right there. He broke the pole off, pulled it out of the ground, and thankfully slammed it into the tree. It's precariously balanced in the crook of some tree branches right now. There's a gaping hole where it was, and broken wood next to it. He definitely lost pieces of his car, because, despite the darkness, we found them in the grass. The cops have a piece of what may be the thing that holds his headlights. It's metal. I found plastic parts covered in oil. He leaked a trail of oil down the street. I told the old cop to just follow the trail, and they'll at least find the car. It was making far too much noise as he sped away, and smelled like burning, too. He's going to have a lot of front bumper damage, maybe rear bumper damage, and definitely undercarriage damage. He'll more than likely break down, and they'll at least get his car.

But holy crap. We could have been killed, all because we thought he was an innocent idiot who needed help getting out of our yard.

Goddammit.

Anyway, Obama was at Tulane University today. I'm not attaching myself to any candidates just yet. It's too early. And as a registered independent, I can't vote in the primaries, so I'm waiting until I see who gets narrowed down. The man has great speech writers and researchers in his employ. He made a great deal about this area and helping it recover and education, especially here...and now assholes like our yard idiot are just giving people more reason to say, "Fuck New Orleans. They don't deserve to recover."

Editing this to add that Entergy is outside right now taking care of our pole. Again, white neighborhood, fast response.

1 comment:

misti said...

Ugh, that completely sucks. We do live next door to some sleazy white people and I've seen several times a cop car pulled up there. But luckily no shots fired.

My grandmother used to live in E. Fort Worth which was nice in the 60's and then by the 80's had turned into the wrong side of town. I remember hearing all sorts of things over there.