Dec 272012

District B City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell will join a group of physicians and children’s health advocates leading a vigil against gun violence at 5:30 p.m. tonight on the steps of City Hall.

For details, see the news release below:

On December 27th, 2012 at 5:30PM Doctors for Gun Control (DFGC) and Residents Engaged in Advocating for Child Health (R.E.A.C.H.) will lead a vigil on the steps of City Hall in honor of the Newtown, CT victims and against gun violence in New Orleans.

Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, Father Bill Terry of St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, and Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, a Pediatrics & Internal Medicine resident, will lead the vigil.  DFGC is calling on local and state leaders to protect and increase resources for city-wide mental health services, support a renewed ban on assault weapons, limit high capacity ammunition clips, and integrate local health leaders in the fight against gun violence.

“One of the many roots of violence in our city is a broken mental health system that does not attend to the needs of our people,” says Father Bill Terry.  “The volume of weapons on the streets; legal or illegal; permeate every neighborhood…the central theme should be to deescalate urban violence, not escalate it.”

DFGC believes that gun violence is a major public health threat in New Orleans – on par with childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease – and therefore deserves the full resources, evidence-based research, and attention of health professionals.

“We can’t solve violence and the urban poverty that drives it behind the sanitized walls of our clinics and hospitals – this isn’t about checklist medicine, its about humanism” says Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, a Tulane Med-Peds resident and Founder of DFGC.  “We need cultural change driven by the pillars of our community – churches, schools, family, & government.  Preach, educate, eat dinner together, and ban assault weapons.  Let’s start with that.”

WHAT: Candlelight Vigil

WHEN: 5:30PM, December 27th, 2012 (Tonight)

WHERE: Steps of City Hall in downtown New Orleans – 1300 Perdido

WHO: DFGC, R.E.A.C.H., St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, Doctors for America


Doctors for Gun Control is a New Orleans based group started by Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, an Internal Medicine & Pediatrics resident at Tulane University.  Its mission is to advocate on behalf of unrepresented children with immediate goals to ban assault weapons, limit high capacity ammunition clips, and increase access to mental healthcare.


  • I’m sure this will do a lot of good. Probably on a par with the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” little signs you can stick in your yard till the wind blows them over.

  • LaToya Cantrell, Father Bill Terry of St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, and Dr. Pritesh Gandhi go on to say: “DFGC is calling on local and state leaders to protect and increase resources for city-wide mental health services”


    Increasing resources, translation, “more money” in not going to solve the mental health problem of New Orleans. In fact, these resources have been increasing significantly for the last 30 years, in the form of social services, non-profits, shelters, etc, with ZERO results that can been seen by the city, it’s residents, or the outside world.

    What this city needs to figure out is why and how this mental health problem started in the first place and it’s NOT because of funding.

    You should ask, “Why does someone have a mental problem to begin with?” Maybe it’s because they have NO JOB after looking for a year or more? Ok, he/she has no job. Why are there NO JOBS in Louisiana? Well, it cause New Orleans is a bunch of passed out alcoholics and weed heads who don’t come to work on time, or at all, that’s why. So companies say, “Hey, we couldn’t find good help, most are passed out from either one party, festival or Saints game, or weekend celebration. Or have family member that is a problem and needs care, hence, they have more family medical *excuses* not to come to work. We will just have to pickup our company and leave Louisiana.”

    Nevertheless, let’s say, the mental health had its funding doubled for the next 20 years.

    What would good would more funding be if it can’t prevent relapse?

    Case in point.

    Say you have a drug addict/homeless, who even gets off of drugs and alcohol, BUT then tries to look for a JOB in New Orleans. Well GUESS what? THERE ARE NO JOBS for even sober and qualified graduates and non-graduates, so why should there be jobs for a cured mental health patient? He/she will keep looking and looking in a city that has more public relations spin that New Orleans is an up and coming city than real good paying jobs in a SAFE city.

    Hence, this formerly cured mental health patient will get frustrated looking for a good paying job, again, and relapse one alcoholic drink at a time…right back to where he/she was before.

  • “Preach, educate, eat dinner together, and ban assault weapons.”

    Ugh. “Assault weapon” is a vague and arbitrary term. The firearms targeted by assault weapons bans are just semi-automatics with one or more so-called “military-style” features, like a pistol grip, a folding stock or a bayonet mount. These are factors that have nothing to do with firepower and scarcely anything to do with the danger posed by the firearm.

    When somebody utters the word “assault weapon” it’s fairly clear they’re just regurgitating talking points and aren’t committed to seriously addressing anything.