Daily Archives: August 7, 2006

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN GRETNA AND MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

 Mon, 07 Aug 2006 13:52:04

Yes this post has a convoluted title that sounds like the slogan of a local car dealer whose ex-wife once tried to have murdered. But this entry has nothing to do with Ronnie and Carmella Lamarque and everything to do with Sheriff Cardinal Attorney General Charlie Foti. Sunday’s Picayune provided a sneak peek at the evidence against the Memorial 3. As Richard Pryor would surely say: “it’s some weak ass shit.” The Picayune headline said it all: Doctor’s drug mix not ideal killer. That’s appropriate because a crime was not committed; palliative stress and pain relieving levels of medicine were administered to very ill patients. That’s what happened at Memorial: the more I’ve looked into the case the weaker the evidence looks. At first I thought that there might have been the sort of subtle and covert “mercy killing” that happens every day in every hospital in the country. But my reading of the facts doesn’t support that conclusion. Repeat after me: no crime was committed during that terrible week in that flooded hospital.

If I’m correct and Sheriff Cardinal Attorney General Foti is wrong: why the hysterical press conference? It was his last hurrah on the case. As much as our state AG’s past present and future like to talk about crime the office’s constitutional role is to serve as the attorney to the state government. The AG’s real world focus is on civil not criminal law. But criminal law is politically sexier and Charlie just couldn’t resist shaking his booty for the international press one more time. It was shameless as well as shamelessly effective in certain quarters. Charlie is aces with the evangelicals in North Louisiana and at archdioceses across South Louisiana right now.

In stark contrast to the Memorial Hospital case Foti’s office quietly forwarded its report on the Gretna bridge blockade episode to hapless Orleans Parish DA Eddie Jordan this week. The report was sent without any hoopla or political posturing. The warring parties in this case are civil rights groups and the white bread suburban power structure of Gretna. Foti is a typical Louisiana Democrat who figures that he has the black vote sewn up so he doesn’t want to alienate god fearing Gretnans who think that everyone on the bridge that day was a lootin’ burnin’ thug. They were wrong.

It’s probably narcissistic to quote myself but here’s what I wrote about this episode on January 13 when my readers could have met in a refrigerator box. The piece was called Regretnas In Jefferson Parish:

“A few days ago as if determined to show that stupidity and ineptitude in local government is not just a N’awlins thing the JP council voted to support Gretna in a civil rights lawsuit stemming from the infamous bridge incident immediately post-K. Ed Bradley did an excellent story about this on Sixty Minutes back in December.

Here are the facts as I understand them. A group of people locals and tourists alike attempted to cross the river to the West Bank via the Crescent City Connection bridge. The vast majority of those fleeing were African-American. Somewhere in the middle of the bridge they were stopped by Gretna police officers and told to get the f**k off the bridge. Warning shots were fired as well. Gretna officialdom maintains that this was justified by the emergency. The problem with this reasoning is that the State of Louisiana owns and operates the CCC and not the burg of Gretna. And it’s fairly obvious that race was a factor as well. (SNIP)

A final note: I am usually a pro-police law and order liberal (there are more of us than some people think) but these cops went too far and what they did was intolerant and stupid. And I am intolerant of intolerance and stupidity. I also don’t think you should need a passport to go from New Orleans to Gretna.”

Thus spake the early Adrastos.

UPDATE: The report was also sent to the US Attorney’s office which may well be as a comment points out the right place for this incident to be reviewed.