This week.

Blue Flower.
Blue Flower.

I’m not really back from my break.

This week has been just horrific for all of us. It was bad enough that the two men killed in Louisiana and Minnesota look like the men and women that I photograph at second lines, Indian gatherings, jazz funerals and during Mardi Gras. Many of them (my subjects) have become friends. If not that, than at least, “pals on the scene.” Even though we really don’t know each other all that well, we are always happy to see each other. Fist bumps, hand shakes and hugs are the first thing we do. When I run into one of them when I’m photographing ruins, they hang with me. Because, they know their neighborhood. They are watching my back.

So? What do I say to them now? I’m sorry. I don’t think that makes it.

And, then.

The world blew up last night. Dallas exploded into horrific violence. The story is developing so the number changes. Twelve shot. Five dead. All police. I’ve known a lot of NOLA police. They too, are pals on the scene. One, who used to manage second lines, saved my butt once because the brass band turned left instead of right and were going to run up my back. A hand reached out of  the crowd, grabbed my collar and pulled me out of the scrum. It was him. My sergeant.

What do I say to him? What do I say to they other NOPD who I know? Sorry? That doesn’t make it. Either.

All I know is this.

Prayers. Sure, pray. Prayers of Dallas. Prayers for Louisiana. Prayers for Minnesota. Prayers for Orlando. Prayers for Paris…

Prayers without action don’t work. You know what the Bible says. Even I do. And I’m not much of a Bible reader. Faith without work is dead.

As I see it, the world today is in horrible shape. If we don’t start working together. If we don’t act to stop this overly intense violence. If we don’t stop this craziness everywhere in the world. And, if we don’t start acting like we care about each other. We are doomed.

I don’t know what those actions could or should be. Maybe it’s as simple as smiling at a person whom you don’t know. Or shaking hands. Thanking a cop for keeping you safe. I don’t know.


Think about this. Think about this right now. I cannot think of one week in 2016 that we haven’t been mourning for something or someone. That’s no good.

Think about this, too. Either everybody matters. Or nobody matters.




  1. You can probably add Chicago to that prayer list. Even though it’s not happening to police officers, or through terrorist attacks, Chicago’s numbers are staggering. You’re right, it’s time to start working together.

    1. Out of the blue and into the black
      You pay for this, but they give you that
      And once you’re gone, you can’t come back
      When you’re out of the blue and into the black — Uncle Neil.

      You are right, of course. I forgot a few more. Chicago. New Orleans. Baghdad. Turkey. Brussels. San Bernadino. Just about everywhere in Syria. And, during “my war,” just about everywhere in Vietnam.

      1. Fitting words from Mr. Young! I am just a couple years too young to have grasped what was taking place in Vietnam, but it seemed as though it was confined. Now when I turn on the news, it seems like the craziness is everywhere. Has the planet become too crowded, and we’re getting on each other’s nerves? Not enough work to keep everybody focused? People wanting their 15 minutes of fame?
        I don’t get it either, Ray.

      2. Well, I live by either everybody matters or nobody matters. It matter to 57,000 + Americans and the half million Vietnamese who died there. The rest is above my pay grade. I think everybody is angry at something. Too many axes to grind.

      3. War is never pretty, but those are some ugly numbers. As far as everybody being angry, I believe that’s how Hitler came into being leader. We can’t take that path ever again!

      4. Two points. I guess you had to be there. And, We have been on that path for a couple of years. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Much worse.

  2. It’s really all too much to take in, isn’t it. And you’re right, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Because as bad as it is, it isn’t yet bad enough for the people who have privilege or power to surrender even a morsel of privilege or power in concession to a better future.

    1. From news reports, it’s getting worse now. Shootings in three states. More cops attacked. In Baton Rouge, the protestors are going toe-to-toe with the Louisiana State Troopers. I just returned from the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen. Black protestors at Lee Circle standing atop the base of the statue of Robert E. Lee, which the mayor has been trying to remove for a year. Luckily, our protest was peaceful as everyone walked up St. Charles Avenue.

  3. what a tragic week indeed, I fear this is just a small explosion, there is so much confrontation, Americans are deeply divided, you don’t trust your police force and they don’t trust the citizens, these wounds are hard to heal, too many guns everywhere. I hope things cool down, the whole world is watching, America needs to unite – that seems to be very unlikely in the near future! 🙁

    1. Everybody is deeply divided. Everywhere. In Europe and the UK over Brexit. In the Middle East. In the former Soviet Union. It’s all signs of the same issue. What I know is pretty much what I wrote. I cannot really help in Europe or the Middle East. But, I can help in The U.S. And, in New Orleans. It’s the little things that matter. That’s how we get to know each other. And, maybe, understand each other.

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