Saturday, March 8, 2008


A few hours ago, just as I was doing the final editing of the 'Notorious" posting I started last night, I heard a woman's wailing cry outside of my house. I looked out the window and saw one woman holding another woman who was crying. It reminded me of the wail that I had heard a few days ago. Not wanting to stare, I shut the curtain and finished working on the posting.

The next thing I knew there were more cars than I have ever seen on this street, there suddenly alot of people on the street. I went out and my neighbor Mary who was feeding the feral city kittys told me that one of our neighbors was just shot.

I joined the spontaneous wake. As I walked I stopped and spoke to a couple of women who were coming my way and asked them who was shot - his name was Yon. His family is one of the nicest families in this neighborhood. They always have a wave and a few words for me whether I pass in the car, on foot or my bike. Now their son is dead, shot in the street.

People who have once lived in this neighborhood have come, they are crying, speaking softly. My neighbors sons who I have photographed on the street are crying. I'm crying.

One more planetary son, brother, grandson, uncle, friend, young man with the possibility of a future, is lying dead on the street.

Think you my brothers, my sisters, that I see you not in your suffering?
I see you with the eyes of my heart and my heart weeps with you…

Prayers for the suffering.


The street is once again bumper to bumper with cars. Mourners. Community. Love. Grieving. Talking. Mt. Moriah Church is busy today and many of the people who used to live in this neighborhood are here praying together. I am honoured to live in such a community.


Another planetary brother of African decent was murdered around 7 a.m. by gunfire this morning on N. Robertson Street. He was 38 years old. Another man was murdered by gunfire later on Frenchman Street. Most likely these men were father's and husband's, definitely a brother, uncle, son, grandson - no matter their deeds - we must remember their humanity or we shall surely forfeit ours.


I sat on my front steps this morning and spoke with Ms Yvonne who has lived in this neighborhood all her life, she told me more of the history of the violence related to Yon's life and the loss of our other neighbors brother to murder just a few houses away from me. She told me of how it is so important to her and others who have lost family members to this particular type of gun violence to learn how to forgive. Then Ms. Hester another neighbor whom I usually say hello to as she passes by my house, was walking by and she came over and we all talked for awhile. I gave Ms. Hester a recipe a West Indian gave me for my lungs as she has severe bronchitis. I went to the store to get the supplies for her and then went to her apartment a few blocks away to show her how to make it tonight and visit a bit. Elodie, who is visiting from France whom I met through this blog, was walking back from the visit with me and as we were walking down the street, in the street, 2 flash style muscle cars drove down the street very aggressively and I said to Elodie, "I have never seen them in this neighborhood before, I wonder if they are coming in to make a statement." That's what it felt like to me, as if they were saying, through their body language and the style of their cars - money, money, money - and how they were driving - aggressively, "if you are the shooter and you are local, we are here, and we are looking for you."

Prayers for the suffering.


Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me girl? Time to put the peace pipe aside and come to grips with how our uptown triangle is. I've lived here for about 8 years now and can say that your comments are very off track. The man murdered was a killer. He had murder charges, he has been in and out of jail for crack cocaine, stealing cars and various other crimes. Not the saint you're trying to throw a pity party for to get yourself this false humanitarian reputation. Like I said, lay off the drugs and see facts as they are. This was a retaliation crime for something horrible this man has done to others. Wake up.

Planetary Sister said...

From the article lined in this posting:

"Gaines pleaded guilty in 1997 to possession of crack cocaine, according to court records. He was arrested early last month for possession of a stolen vehicle and for being a felon with a firearm. He had an April court date pending."

May I take a guess? You are one of my white neighbors, fully fortressed in this neighborhood, how many dogs?

I was not portraying a saint - I was portraying a human being. It may have seemed to you in my identifying his humanity and the outpouring of grief from the community that is losing their Black son's and fathers, that this level of compassion translates as saint-like.

Perhaps this is an indication of how far you have strayed from your own humanity.

Perhaps when your anger, which is I believe, a cover for your fear, is acknowledged and healed, you too might find compassion in your heart and a way to come out of your house and into the streets to help.

And perhaps also, your supposition of my false humanitarianism might be assuaged by actually meeting me.

There are still people who love and care deeply about humanity and we are for real. Feel free to e-mail me and find out for your self by meeting me in person.

If you have proof of the murder charges with a link I would be glad to put them up. Anyone who visited the story link I provided saw what I knew, that he was a felon.

What I chose to focus on was his humanity - that is what this blog is about. My context was in alignment with my work in this city.

This was no pity party my neighbor, this was an anchoring of compassion and a remembrance of humanity and dignity. That is how, I believe, one person at a time, one community at a time, in racial solidarity, the cycle of violence, classism, institutionalized racism, and poverty that Black New Orleanian men most especially have suffered from and have endured, can begin to be healed. And in turn, the city of New Orleans can heal.

And this neighborhood is named according to the census - THE BLACK PEARL.

The Uptown Triangle is not its name, it is a corporation formed by people who came into this community, I am assuming mostly white people, who seem to me in their arrogance, to have disregarded the historical significance of this Black New Orleanian community and it's rich cultural history.

And if I may, this area is not "your Uptown Triangle" it is the Black Pearl also proudly and fondly known by longtime (60+ years here) Black community members as "nigga town".

When my longtime Black Pearl neighbors call the neighborhood by this name I have seen pride in their eyes, and sometimes tears, for what has been lost of their culture and community.

Yeah it is dangerous here.

Dangerous for Black New Orleanian men and boys. Personally, I feel no danger living in this awesome neighborhood even after Yon Gaines' murder a block away on the street I live on, Pitt Street. NONE.

Passin the peace pipe back to you neighbor.

Planetary Sister said...

Monday 11:51 a.m.

I was just sitting and speaking with my neighbors who knew Yon for years and they confirmed that he was responsible for 2 murders one man whom he murdered was the brother of my neighbor. Yon was never charged for these murders.

AND I stand by everything I wrote, and take the stance of my Black New Orleanian neighbors who are living this nightmare losings their sons, fathers, and brothers - "You must forgive, you can't carry around the hate."

We all have the spark of the Creators light in us. It can never be taken away - it can be covered over by aligning with the darkness and engaging in wicked deeds, but never extinguished.

If what I have been told is true of Yon, he lived by the sword and died in the same way.

This does not discount that he was a human being with a good family who loved him. His family and the families who lose their members to violence are the ones suffering.

The dead have finished their business here.

I choose to honour the humanity of all my planetary brothers and sisters and will continue do so on this blog.

Yon Gaines and others who harm and murder others who align with the darkness will be taken care of, if not by the law, then by the laws of karma, and ultimately by the Creator.

My job is to help people remember each other as brothers and sisters.

One Love.

Anonymous said...

You've done too many drugs in your day. Your brain is washed out with all this stuff. My planetary sister needs to come visit earth now and again. And no, I'm black, but thanks for painting your racist views on me. I happen to get along with my white neighbors. It's not about race like you like to make it. It's about good and evil. You choose to give sympathy to the devil, and I wish you luck with that. I believe in karma and this man got what he deserved.

Planetary Sister said...

Racism has many definitions, the most common and widely accepted being that members of one race consider themselves intrinsically superior to members of other races. WIKI

Racism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sociologists Noel Cazenave and Darlene Alvarez Maddern define racism as “...a highly organized system of 'race'-based group privilege that operates at every ...

I am going to end with the above as a participant in this dialogue with you neighbor.

Jah Guide.

Anonymous said...

I encourage you, that if you truly seek peace and equality in life, that you work with your neighbors along with police to bring this man's killer to justice. Silence is violence. Help us bring about peace by convincing your neighbors to work with police to bring about peace and justice.