It's a fictional book, with a number of prior Robicheaux novels written by Burke, but this story has an interesting subplot: that of Otis Baylor, a white insurance salesman who decides to tough out Katrina in the city instead of evacuating. His back story is explained in tragic details earlier in the book:
Otis has always believed in the work ethic and taking care of one's self and one's own. In his view, there is no such thing as luck, either good or bad. He believes that victimhood has become a self-sustaining culture, one to which he will never subscribe. When people fall on bad times, it's usually the result of their own actions, he tells himself. The serpent didn't force Eve to pick forbidden fruit, nor did God make Cain slay his brother.The book isn't worth reading from this point forward, but the quoted material is worth re-reading (as is Lawrence Auster's article on The Truth of Interracial Rape at FrontPageMag.com).
But if Otis's view is correct, why did undeserved suffering come in such a brutal fashion to his homely, sad, overweight daughter, his only child, whose self-esteem was so low she was overjoyed to be invited to the senior prom by a rail of a boy with dandruff on his shoulders and glasses that made his eyes look like a goldfish's?
After the prom, Thelma and her date had headed up Interstate 10 to a party, except the boy, who had moved to New Orleans only two months earlier, got lost and drove them into a neighborhood not far from the Desire Welfare Project. Mindlessly, the boy killed the engine and asked directions of a passerby. When he discovered his battery was dead and he couldn't restart the engine, he walked to a pay phone to call Otis, leaving Thelma by herself.
The three black thugs who stumbled across her were probably ripped on weed and fortified wine. But that alone would not explain the ferocity of their attack on Otis's daughter. They stuffed a red bandanna in her mouth and twisted her arms behind her while they forced her between two buildings. Then they took turns raping and sodomizing her while they burned her skin with cigarettes.
Two years had passed since that night and Otis still seeks explanations. Thelma's attackers were never caught, and Otis doubts they ever will be. Psychiatrists and therapists and the minister from Otis's church have done little good in Thelma's recovery, if "recovery" is the word. He wakes in the middle of the night and sits by himself in the den, determined that his wife will not discover the level of torment in his soul.
More important, perhaps, he refuses to be embittered or to join ranks with his neighbors who comprised part of the forty percent of the electorate who voted for the former Klansman and Nazi David Duke in a gubernatorial runoff. (p. 11-12)
How many fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, friends, classmates, neighbors, etc., have been in the exact same situation as the fictional Otis Baylor?
Well, let's look at a New York Times article from 2007. It documents a massive march on by New Orleans citizens to stand against crime.
The only problem?
It was only white people in the audience. [In Downtown New Orleans, Thousands March Against Killings, NYTimes.com, January 12, 2007]:
Thousands of residents here, mostly whites, marched through downtown on Thursday in a show of anger over recent killings and local officials’ ineffective response.
Converging on City Hall, the crowd packed the plaza fronting the building, with many marchers holding signs that denounced Mayor C. Ray Nagin, his police chief and the local district attorney as “incompetent,” “failures” or worse, and demanding their resignations.
The police estimated the crowd at 5,000, a big turnout in a city where such large-scale mobilization is unusual.
It was a striking demonstration of the frustration coursing through New Orleans as residents endure one more challenge — at least 13 killings in two weeks, including those of a popular musician and a well-known filmmaker — after all the misery inflicted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Yet it also showed the community’s deep division. Nearly all the demonstrators were white, even though New Orleans is mostly black, the victims of the violence have mostly been black, and perpetrators are believed to have been black, too.
The demonstrators were homemakers from the Uptown neighborhood, bohemians from the Faubourg Marigny section, small-business owners from the French Quarter, and executives and lawyers from the Central Business District.
The monochrome crowd was a surprise to many, and an unpromising augury for any possible resolution of the city’s crime crisis. Law enforcement officials have for years spoken of mute circles of witnesses around crime scenes in largely African-American neighborhoods here.
Marching up Poydras Street to City Hall, one of Thursday’s few black demonstrators, Isadell Icastle, said: “I was totally shocked when I came here, that they didn’t have more black people out here.”
The Rev. John Raphael, a local black pastor who fired up the crowd during the rally, said afterward: “There is a lot of hopelessness on the street, in the black community. People are living in fear.”
“To step out,” Mr. Raphael added, “people just feel they would make themselves vulnerable.”
Some whites suggested that many blacks holding low-paying jobs would not have been permitted to leave work to attend the demonstration.
Earlier, Mr. Nagin had stood by silently as Mr. Raphael, of New Hope Baptist Church, gave emotional voice to the crowd’s discontent.
“We have trod through streets soaked with the blood of our neighbors and siblings, to declare our dissatisfaction,” the pastor called out to the crowd. “We have come to lodge our complaint.”
Many in the crowd appeared to think so as well, though most had no more specific goals than the expression of weariness and rage.
“Do we just keep passing restaurants where we say, ‘I know people who were murdered there?’ No more,” said Karin Rittvo, who held aloft a sign that read “6 Family, Friends murdered since July. No Arrests. It’s Personal Now.”
Other demonstrators spoke of their shock at some of the latest killings, like that of the filmmaker Helen Hill, which — unusually — did not involve shootouts between drug dealers.
“It’s bad enough when criminals are killing criminals,” Clyde Patton, a real estate developer, said. “But when criminals are killing the innocent, that hurts us all.”
One woman spoke of a sense of shame at the killing wave. “We all let the violence in our city get out of hand,” the woman, Janet Barnwell, said. “We’re only as strong as our weakest link.”Only as strong as the weakest link?
In New Orleans, that weakest link is the black population. [At funeral of slain 1-year-old Londyn Samuels, mourners remember happy baby who loved to dance, NOLA.com, September 8, 2013]:
A little over a week ago, Andrea Samuels and Keion Reed were celebrating some of life's first big milestones with their sweet-faced little girl -- her first steps and her first words. But after a gunman's bullet claimed the life of 1-year-old Londyn Unique Samuels in Central City, those milestones have become sweet memories.
Nine days after her Aug. 29 death, friends and family and community leaders filled New Hope Baptist Church on LaSalle Street on Saturday morning to celebrate the short life of the "happy baby who loved to dance."
The investigation into Londyn's slaying was tough, with police reporting that at one point Crimestoppers had received just one tip. Detectives worked the case for six days before making an arrest.
Keelen Armstrong, 24, and Darnell Ramee, 19, who police say fired on Londyn and her babysitter, who was critically wounded, were arrested on charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. They are being held in Orleans Parish Prison. Police have not indicated a motive.
Jaamal Weathersby, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, praised the bravery of those who came forward with information that led to the arrests. And the mayor said everyone should ask themselves what they can do to stop the violence.
"I suggest today that we might ask ourselves what kind of poison, of hatred, indifference of uncaring do we unleash upon our streets where we live and the consequences of that poison," Landrieu said. "Then we must ask ourselves what we can do as a people to make sure that the streets of this city, the homes of this city and that the arms of our mothers and fathers are something that promotes life rather than death.""Brave" to come forward with information that put two black thugs away for the killing of a one-year black girl, in what can only be deemed a motiveless slaying (we call it Spontaneous Blackness).
This is the difference between white civilization and black civilization, with the New York Times story from 2007 and the New Orleans Times Picayune story from today illustrating the incalculable, irreconcilable differences that no 'tolerance workshop' could ever hope to overcome.
But like the fictional Otis Baylor, most white people view anyone who dares defend their right to exist as the second-coming of Duke; well, until this hangup is overcome, the number of people who sit silently in their dens (tormented) will only grow.
But when this hangup is overcome, well, it's the end of the world as we know it.