I would like to congratulate Gambit Weekly and Ms. Katy Reckdahl on the excellent three-part series about domestic violence in New Orleans (June 11, June 18 and June 25).
As the former City Attorney, I know the importance of a well-coordinated, comprehensive and cooperatively executed effort to stop domestic violence. With police, social workers and city prosecutors working together, I have observed firsthand how, collectively, we can impact this problem of domestic violence which is tearing apart our families and our communities.
Unfortunately, your series failed to mention the important role of city prosecutors and the work being done in New Orleans Municipal Court in conjunction with probation officers, social workers and judges who handle hundreds of domestic violence cases a week and try to protect victims. New Orleans Municipal Court is a key component in the community response to an act of violence between intimates.
In the City Attorney's Office, we have worked through the Mayor's Domestic Violence Advisory Committee to promote police, court and social service agency coordination, to track domestic violence cases and to keep abreast of social service research about domestic violence and its relationship to criminal behavior.
We now hear defendants remark how seriously these crimes are treated in Municipal Court. The results of our prosecutions send a clear message that the City of New Orleans is working at all levels to protect families from violence and criminal activity.
Right Back at Ya
I find myself obligated to toss one of your brickbats right back at you. In the June 18 issue, page 12, you've employed the most common misspelling of my name. There is no "bone" in Terrebonne.
To better help you remember, maybe a (foreign) language lesson would help. Like so many names around here, it's French. If broken down into its parts, you'll easily see that "terre" is French for earth and that "bonne" is French for good. The name says "good earth." The earth is feminine and therefore gets the feminine spelling of "good."
Spread this good-dirt advice around. You won't look so ignorant next time you're spelling words and names so deeply associated with New Orleans' area and culture.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Terrebonne in question is Terrebonne Parish. Gambit Weekly regrets the error.
Comic Book Villains?
To the person who decided who would be in your comic book artists story ("Comic Crusaders," June 18):
It is always nice when someone decides to do a piece on underground art scenes in town, but I have to take issue with your lack of choice in artists. I believe you purposely neglected one of the premier artists and commentators of our town. Robert Trittart of Writhe & Shine is not only the only artist in town who is distributed around the world (Australia, England, Germany, Belgium, Japan) but he sells on a continuous level. His first prints of 1,000 copies sold out. All the mini-comics have sold out, too. Plus, a line of T-shirts and stickers can be seen all over the city. He has a fan base of over 400 on his Web site and is now being picked up by a California management group to possibly move into animation.
I can't believe that your people, in this small city, didn't know anything about him. Are you purposely obtuse? Or is it that you don't like to print things about people who are not friends of your staff or advertisers?
My friends and I have always wondered. Now I think we know the truth. You are not objective journalists. You are an ad agency.
The Bishops' Problem
The response of the Catholic bishops to the pedophilia crisis reminds me of Einstein's observation that "you cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it."
The all-male celibate hierarchy has proven itself to be a colossal failure in terms of providing leadership and pastoral care. Not only did they not protect the innocents from wolves in sheep's clothing, they allowed wolves in shepherd's clothing. To make matters worse their system creates perversion; any part of humanity that is denied legitimate expression is forced to find expression in illegitimate or perverse ways.
The Catholic Church's opportunity came during the Second Vatican Council when the time was right to open the priesthood, making priestly celibacy optional. But the bishops would not relinquish their control, and many innocents have suffered the consequences of their patriarchal and hypocritical sexual suppression. I fear the bishops' solution of tighter controls and screening will ultimately compound the problem.
What is needed is for the bishops to admit that they have failed. The next step is for them to sincerely ask for help from the women and men of the church, who as baptized, confirmed Christians constitute a "royal priestly people." Nothing short of equality for women and an end to sexual suppression will make the Catholic Church credible today.
James H. O'Neill