Reporter shot in New Orleans violence

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Deborah Cotton was in “guarded but stable condition” Sunday night after being hit by gunfire in New Orleans, Kevin Allman reports. Cotton returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina “more determined than ever to write, videotape and chronicle the city’s culture, particularly African-American music and street culture,” he writes.

She writes weekly for Gambit‘s Blog of New Orleans on second line culture and brass bands, and recently launched NewOrleansGoodGood.com, a website that she created to celebrate all that was “good good” about her adopted home.

The shooting occurred at a Mother’s Day parade.


Cotton wrote in September 2010 about how local media covered violence at second-line events: It “by and large ignores social aid and pleasure club culture — except in instances when it attempts to equate second line parades with lawlessness,” she wrote.

Hamilton Nolan writes that compared with rare acts of terrorism, “the far more common and destructive acts of violence committed every single day on the streets of America due to poverty and the drug war and lack of education and simple human viciousness are ‘street violence,’ which is treated as some timeless aspect of the human condition.”

This violence, which kills many more Americans each year than any Muslim terrorist could dream of, is unworthy of our brain space. (Black-on-black crime— whether 19 people shot in New Orleans, or 12 people shot at a Baltimore cookout, or 54 people shot in a single weekend in Chicago— is considered least newsworthy of all.) We shake our heads, perhaps, but we do not allow it to occupy us, if we are fortunate enough not to be touched by it personally. Our leaders may bemoan it, but they do not make it a national priority. The media reports on it, but it does not dwell on it.

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