Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Post-Diluvian Follies: "I Was Just Trying to Help"

Guests came to dinner one evening, friends of the family, a father and son back in town as FEMA contractors, training to travel around the outlying parishes and inspect damaged homes. The father was a strange, engaging older man who (when not FEMA-contracting) lived in the Caribbean and captained tour boats. He had spent his younger years in New Orleans, including a stint as a police officer. Though he seemed to possess a sort of eccentrically enlightened world view, he had seen the city’s murky underbelly and had the stories to tell.

He told of a time in the French Quarter when a suspect was trying to escape. “This was back in the sixties, and it wasn’t like it is now. It was like the Wild West.” (Things just then actually seemed remarkably like the Wild West, but I wasn’t going to quibble.) “We—my partner and I—we start shooting at him. We’re shooting at him, and then this other guy comes out of a bar to see what’s going, and he see’s the guy running away so he takes out his gun, and he starts shooting at the guy. So we tell him, ‘Hey, you can’t do that!’, and he says, ‘What? I was just trying to help’...”

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