I appreciate your suggestions in Gambit Weekly ("Jordan's Message," Jan. 21). I see that you clearly understand the position that I am in, both as the head of a new administration and with the huge task I have ahead of me.
The protection of witnesses and victims is a top priority in my administration. I believe that members of my staff should attend the funerals of victims of violent crimes, both to deter retaliation and, of course, to express my administration's sincere sympathy to the families. Working closely with the families of murder victims, my office will determine whether our law enforcement mission will be served by having a staff member attend a funeral.
I also believe that specialized prosecution units are appropriate, and I have begun to attack that issue. Such units are part of my aggressive plan to attack public corruption, domestic violence, elderly abuse and crimes against children.
I thank you for your opinion, and I hope that you continue to issue such open and honest views in the future. I assure you, it is my sincere desire to help lead us to a safer New Orleans.
--Eddie J. Jordan Jr
Orleans Parish District Attorney
A Mile in their Shoes
As a nurse working for the past three years with the homeless, reading your article "Fed Up" (Jan. 28) brings to my mind the saying that you should not judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.
You will quickly learn that being homeless is just the beginning of your day of "lesses." Friendless, healthless, comfortless, self-esteemless, and challenged by your illnesses of diabetes, hypertension, or epilepsy, mental illness or substance abuse, you will trudge looking for work without an ID or diploma.
Come walk a mile with me any Wednesday or Friday mornings at the Multi-Service Center where it takes more courage to just hear about the lives of these "less" men than you probably use in your life in a week. Well-fed and uppity people in particular are invited. I'll introduce you to George, who has two sons stationed in Afghanistan diligently serving our country. His loving family has embraced him throughout his life struggle with depression. And meet Ulysses who is on hemodialysis three times a week and ministers to his peers about how God has freed him from his drug abuse. His stamina and hope, while facing obstacles at every turn, will truly humble you. In addition, there is Jesse, who has proudly worked to move into his own apartment, financed by his daily activity of cleaning the center and welcoming the new souls that are lucky enough to know of this refuge. They have hopes and dreams and needs no different because of the shoes they are wearing or the roads they have survived.
I ask you: what is not to be "stomached" anymore? Is it the
reminder that there are still cracks too wide and that people in our society
The Need for Abortion
Thank you for your illuminating story on the debate over abortion rights ("Roe v. Wade at 30," Jan. 28). Opponents of legal abortion fail to recognize that Roe v. Wade did not invent abortion. The annual number of illegal abortions in the 1950s and 1960s is estimated between 200,000 and 1.2 million. The illegality of abortion did not affect the wealthy who could afford to travel to locations where abortion was legal for their procedure. It did, however, greatly impact middle and low-income women who did not have the resources to travel and instead had to go to back-alley butchers for unsafe procedures. Roe v. Wade was an act of social justice.
Unfortunately access to quality reproductive health services is still linked to economic status. Louisiana ranks dead last in providing publicly funded contraceptive services, serving only 25 percent of all women in need. Low-income women who want to prevent unintended pregnancies have to wait an average of six months to secure family planning services from public health facilities.
It is time our public officials make protecting and promoting family health and well-being a priority. If our legislators are serious about reducing abortion rates, why don't they support public funding for family planning, medically accurate sex education programs, access to emergency contraception and prescription drug coverage for contraceptives? This is the only way to prevent unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion.
President and CEO Planned Parenthood of Louisiana/Mississippi Delta
Ozanam's Happy Neighbors
I am afraid that Gambit is trying to create a story where none really exists ("Fed Up," Jan. 28). What you need to understand is that in the Warehouse District, even some of our neighborhood crazies are of the gentrified kind.
The vast majority of the Ozanam Inn's neighbors admire and appreciate the work it is doing. In fact, it is recognized by most as a model of what can be accomplished with a modest budget and a lot of dedication.
To focus on the grotesque comments of a handful of detractors in no way indicates the views of the Ozanam Inn's many happy neighbors.
--John J. SullivaN