Nov 102013
 
Cathy Rickmon (left) and Martha Bullock (right) sit on the porch where their sons Orlando “Lanny” Rickmon and Desmond O’Neal Bell were murdered on April 23, 2013. "Losing a child is like losing half a heart," said Rickmon. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Cathy Rickmon (left) and Martha Bullock (right) sit on the Baudin St. porch where their sons Orlando “Lanny” Rickmon and Desmond O’Neal Bell were murdered on April 23, 2013. “Losing a child is like losing half a heart,” said Rickmon. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Cathy Rickmon and Martha Bullock had been casual friends for years, but a burst of violence in Mid-City sealed their fates together forever.

“We weren’t close until the tragedy of our sons,” Rickmon said.

“We will always have a bond because someone who we loved, that we loved very dearly, was lost on the same day,” said Bullock. Continue reading »

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Nov 102013
 
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Margaret Washington sits in her daughter Marguerite LaJoy Washington’s room, while holding LaJoy’s McMain graduation gown and medal for Physics. LaJoy was shot and killed while visiting her new boyfriend’s home just months after graduating from high school. “She loved stuffed animals,” said Washington while sitting in her daughter’s pink room.  (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Marguerite LaJoy Washington came to her adoptive mother Margaret Washington at 3 months old, and from the beginning she was the family’s princess.

“She was my shadow,” said Washington, a former nursing instructor. “She grew up in my church, in my sorority, at Charity school of nursing, with my nursing alumni group. Wherever I was, she was there. It allowed her to be exposed to positive things, positive values and allowed her to get maturity much earlier then the average child.” Continue reading »

Nov 102013
 
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Ann Dimes stands where she last saw her son Danny Joseph Robert, remembering how it felt to hug him goodbye. Minutes after saying goodnight to her son, he was shot seven times in the face just blocks from where they had just been. “My life changed from that minute to this moment, to try to do the right thing toward my son, tell his story through all the hurt and pain. It came happen to any mother just like this,” said Dimes.   (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

On a May evening in 2011, Ann Dimes stood outside a Ninth Ward home with her 26-year-old son, Danny Joseph Roberts. Roberts had been through a bout with a kidney stone, and Dimes, a surgical technician, wanted to check on him.

Danny, a longshoreman since the age of 16 years old, had just gotten a settlement check from the BP oil spill and felt on top of the world in spite of his medical problems. His mother reminded him he needed to keep his car door locked, but he brushed her concerns off by telling her to give him a hug. Then his phone rang.

A voice on the other end of the line – one Dimes has never identified, but will never forget overhearing – asked to borrow a shirt to wear to the club. Danny told his mother he loved her and would see her the next day, so she turned around, closed the door and went inside.

Minutes later, Dimes’ own phone began ringing – Danny was dead, shot seven times in the face just blocks from where they had last hugged goodbye.

“I am not the same person,” Dimes said. “It haunts me all the time. I just can’t understand the purpose of killing him that way.” Continue reading »

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Nov 102013
 
Linn James says a prayer to her son Christopher Guilbeau Jr. and tells him she loves him while visiting his grave in Avondale on Oct. 28, 2013. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Lynn James says a prayer to her son Christopher Guilbeau Jr. and tells him she loves him while visiting his grave in Avondale on Oct. 28, 2013. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

When 26-year-old Christopher Guilbeau Jr. was shot on Elysian Fields Avenue in 2007, he survived but was stricken blind. When he suddenly died from his injuries in 2009, it was his mother’s life that plunged into darkness.

“The people who are doing the murdering are not just hurting the mothers and the fathers of the child they are hurting,” Lynn James said. “They are hurting generations of people. They are hurting those young men’s children and cousins and nephews and grandparents. You are hurting a whole world of people who you will never know because of something senseless.” Continue reading »

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Nov 062013
 
A sign at Coliseum Park reminds dog owners of laws requiring them to keep their pets leashed and pick up after them. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

A sign at Coliseum Park reminds dog owners of laws requiring them to keep their pets leashed and pick up after them. (photo by Jean-Paul Villere for UptownMessenger.com)

Jean-Paul Villere

I am a cat person, but we remain feline less for the moment.  My oldest developed an allergy recently, and I chose my offspring over my rat decapitator we had had since a wee kitten rescued post-K, all mangy and feral.  Not a tough call, but have you ever been brought a headless rodent with its noggin neatly next to its lifeless body?  It’s impressive.  And repulsive.  And in short, quite a skill.  Her name was Rita (yes, named after the storm – she did have a sister named Katrina who died a few years ago), and like most cats, self sufficient and less than encourageable; such are these creatures.  And therefore and in my experience quite unlike the other preferred domesticated pet: your household dog. Continue reading »