Thursday, April 12, 2007
Husband recounts wife's murder
Sometimes, if you're lucky, there are certain people you interview who stick with you. They leave such an impression that long after the lights are out and the camera and tripod put away, your thoughts still go back to that conversation. That happened to me this week.

I flew to Canada to interview Paul Gailiunas. His wife, Helen Hill, was murdered in New Orleans back in January in their home. Paul has relocated to Canada with the couple's only son, two-and-a-half year old Francis. I met Paul just a week after Helen died, but he wasn't ready to be interviewed about her death until this week. She's been gone just over two months.

We met at a hotel for the interview, and when he walked in, he hugged me. I think he needed a hug more than I did. He is still visibly shaken by his wife's death. His speech is halting. He's a tad forgetful. And his heart is clearly broken.

Helen and Paul had been married 11 years. They met at Harvard and moved to New Orleans in 1992. They both found it enchanting. Helen wanted to unite the community, so she held regular tea parties at their house and invited the neighbors. She worked as an animated filmmaker. Paul was a doctor who catered to the poor. They fed the homeless together and raised a pot-bellied pig. I've looked at many pictures of Helen and there isn't one where she doesn't have a smile on her face. Life was good.

Then 5:30 a.m., January 4, an intruder slipped into their home, it appears, through a back door. Paul had fallen asleep in his son's room, so Helen was alone in their bedroom.

"I woke to the sound of her voice struggling and screaming, "Don't! Get out! Don't hurt my child! Get away from my child! Get away from my baby!'" Paul told me.

Paul says Helen was struggling with a man by the front door. She yelled to him to call 911. He ran to the back of the house, carrying their young son in his arms, and tried to hide in the bathroom.

"Within a few seconds, a man walked toward me through the house. I saw him walk through the kitchen holding a gun toward me. He stopped about four feet or so away from me and there were about three gunshots," Paul said.

We saw the bullet holes at the house. They are still in the bathroom cabinets. The bullets grazed Paul's cheek and sliced right through his arm and his hand. Helen wasn't so lucky. A single shot to the neck killed her. By the time Paul was ready to try CPR it was too late. He says the attacker, who was never caught, disappeared in minutes without a word. The police investigation appears to be at a standstill.

Helen's death was the 12th murder in New Orleans that week and the sixth in a 24-hour period. That is the kind of violence they are dealing with here. So far this year, there have been at least 58 murders. In all of last year, there were 160. The police force is still down about 300 officers since the storm. Now the mayor is asking Congress for $34 million to help fight crime.

But survivors like Paul wonder what the answer is. He says you can't just pour money into a city and fix it. He says the issues of poverty and injustice and drugs need to be addressed to prevent people from kiling each other. He knows fixing New Orleans won't bring Helen back.

Paul and Helen evacuated from the city a couple days before Katrina hit. They were gone about a year, but returned to New Orleans to save it, to help rebuild it, but now someone else will have to do it. This family isn't going back.
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 2:15 PM ET
I feel bad for Paul and his son. I also believe that not only Paul lost but so did the city. Since Katrina hit all anyone hears about is how the governement needs to help, they need money, until the people there decide to help themselves the city will never be fixed. Its about time the people of New Orleans stood up and did something to stop the crime and clean up the city and stop waiting for everyone else to do it for them. If this crime is still unsolved, where is the Mayor, why isnt he pushing to get these crimes solved. Maybe he is to busy trying to get on TV to call the rest of the country racist, he could be looking at that "hole in the ground" in NY city or maybe just sitting back waiting until he has another chance to complain.
Posted By Anonymous R.L. Fayetteville, NC : 2:47 PM ET
I don't think a lot of people want to go back to a city filled with homicide and a police force that is short of officers. Politicians need to show that changes for their citizen's safety are in place before they ask people to return, otherwise no one will come back!
Posted By Anonymous Nicki, Saskatoon, Canada : 2:49 PM ET
As a resident of Louisiana this story has a special place in my heart. The problem with New Orleans starts with the idiot mayor who was re-elected and goes down through the ranks of "public" officers he has appointed to various high paid positions. The city will not get better in regards to crime until you have a mayor who does not cater to drug dealers and murders for votes to stay in office.
Posted By Anonymous Sean, Covington, LA : 2:55 PM ET
NEW ORLEANS IS LOST!! Close it down and give everyone a ticket to somewhere else. Bulldoze it and let Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi reclaim the land! Anarchy cannot be overcome, look at Iraq!!
Posted By Anonymous Ken, Tallahassee, FL : 2:55 PM ET
Why don't we try to fix our own cities and internal problems rather than police the rest of the world. I�m not an isolationist by any means. I believe the world needs to work together to live together, but while we are more concerned with those in the Middle East, our own country is starting to fall apart. Where is the National Guard who should be in New Orleans helping fill in the gaps in the police force??? They�re overseas fighting in Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Emily, St. Augustine, Fl : 2:58 PM ET
It's a shame that the people that chose to stay or return and rebuild have to deal with this senseless violence. What happened to the cries that this was God's way of telling the people of the city that they need to change their ways? Obviously they didn't know it was to be for the better.
Posted By Anonymous Michael. Chicago, IL : 2:59 PM ET
I feel extremely bad for this guy, this is the reason the 2nd Amendment is so important to me.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel, Harrisonburg, VA : 2:59 PM ET
Like Paul, I came back to New Orleans to rebuild my life and the city I hold dear; my home. The horror of what happened to Paul and his family is unimaginable and wonder every single day if I too should give up on this place that has become such a part of me. I can't imagine living somewhere besides New Orleans and at the same time, I can't imagine continuing here as it is.
Posted By Anonymous Scott Umberger, New Orleans, Louisiana : 2:59 PM ET
Stop pouring money into New Orleans. The "people" do not want to go back. There is nothing new about the crime in the city and there never will be as long as the current "people" keep the same leaders (a joke) in office. Stop crying and stop waiting for the handout.
Posted By Anonymous CPA, Baton Rouge, LA : 3:01 PM ET
Many of the problems facing New Orleans existed before Katrina, but the levee failures and subsequent flooding of 80% of the city exacerbated inadequate public housing, failing schools, etc. Unless one sees it first-hand, the devastation is mind-blowing. Surely the Federal Gov't should be held accountable for the damage to basic institutions and infrastructure caused by the failure of levees and floodwalls that were meant to protect the city. Until these basic services are repaired, the problems of education and crime will continue to seem insurmountable.
Posted By Anonymous Lee L., New Orleans, LA : 3:01 PM ET
My heart aches for Paul and his family. Unfortunately the trend of murder and robbery won't change until federal and state gov. work harder to provide assistance and job incentives to bring work back into the city. Paul if you read this please know my prayers are with you and I wish you the best.
Posted By Anonymous Chad, Denver CO : 3:02 PM ET
I just returned to New Orleans this year, having left pre-katrina, and this was a sad thing for all of us.

Unfortunately, it's avoidable...I know a pot-bellied pig is a neat pet, but if Helen and Paul had owned a couple of medium-sized dogs, things would not have happened the way they did.
Posted By Anonymous Phil Adkins New Orleans LA : 3:03 PM ET
New Orleans was filled with Democrats and people who didn't vote for Bush. They're sorry now, aren't they?
Posted By Anonymous Bubba, Swainsboro GA : 3:03 PM ET
I understand the fear, anxiety and disappointment that Paul and his family have experienced. I work for the only inner city hospital in New Orleans functioning at full capacity. Wow, what comes through here daily is staggering. Life here is hard, scary, dirty, depressing, poor....
I was born and raised here- it will NEVER be what it once was. Our leaders are comical in their comments and decisions. We need assistance in every form possible. I only hope Paul and his son can find peace in their future.
Posted By Anonymous M.B., New Orleans, LA : 3:03 PM ET
One more George Bush Success story.
He is re-building Iraq (as fast as they can blow it up), but we cant fix New Orlean...something is wrong...
Posted By Anonymous dh, Denver, Colorado : 3:05 PM ET
Hi Randi,
My heart goes out to this family. What's the answer? Who or what can finally fix New Orleans? More Money? More responsible handling of that money? Or perhaps it's a combination of all the above and add a huge dose of an attitude of Enough. It seems to me when people say Enough and really mean it, that then and only then do the tides turn. My thoughts are still with the people of New Orleans and ALL the Gulf Coast, nothing is hopeless. I still believe the region will be thriving one day soon. We here in America can not let you down. That's just not acceptable. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 3:05 PM ET
What a tragedy that hardworking, decent people like these can't even be safe in their own home. This senseless act is just another example of how little has been done to help the people and the city of New Orleans.

Why is it that our government is so quick to offer help to other countries and their people in the wake of earthquakes, floods, etc., yet allows an innocent woman to die in front of her family right in our own backyard?
Posted By Anonymous Diane, New York City : 3:06 PM ET
The right answer is to not rebuild New Orleans. Bulldoze everything but the currently standing buildings and move on. African Americans aren't moving back because they aren't stupid. Nagin is the only person who doesn't get it. You cant depend on being spared by the weather - its not racism - its the weather.
Posted By Anonymous Ken, Tampa, FL : 3:07 PM ET
� New Orleans PD was arguably the worst police force in the country, pre-Katrina. I lived in the city and the only words I can use to describe the police force are: vindictive, corrupt and callous. There is no doubt in my mind that you can trace all three of these traits to the widespread poverty in the city. I believe starting pay on the NOPD is around $24k...what kind of talent can you expect to attract with that?
Posted By Anonymous George C, LI, NY : 3:07 PM ET
Hi Randi, In some ways New Orleans reminds me of Iraq on a smaller scale. Living there is dangerous and a negative entity has taken over the streets. Why would anyone want to live in that kind of environmnet?
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn MI : 3:08 PM ET
I love New Orleans. I've visited the city a number of times. I feel as though the community leaders and law enforcement need to step it up a notch by giving the people who live there hope and motivation to do more in the way of standing up for themselves and standing up for the community. I know this wont totally rid the city of crime, but at least the community will be better equipped and educated for fighting for their homes and their lives. Without the continued support and education from the community leaders and law enforcement, why would anyone care?
Posted By Anonymous Krista, Cincinnati, Ohio : 3:10 PM ET
My heart goes out to this husband, and father. Forget about the trouble with New Orleans - this man is devastated...his wife was murdered !!!That's the only fact that matters at this time - the place is irrelevant.
My prayers go out to you and your son.
Posted By Anonymous M. Tuck - N.B. Canada : 3:11 PM ET
The Mayor should have never called New Orleans a Chocolate City. That comment compounded the already divisive issue of race within New Orleans and the state. People who may have been willing to go back and make a difference may now forever be turned off by the perception of that racial comment. Too bad for New Orleans. The mayor may be trying to pander his minority citizens, but clearly not with the city at large. The city needs a fresh, new leader to emerge from the devastation of Katrina and unite all people who call it or would like to call it home.
Posted By Anonymous Brent Gartner, Hampton, VA : 3:11 PM ET
I am a "New Orleanian"
Unfortunately, everything that is written is true. No doubt the homicide rate is ludicrous-stemming from the lack of police force. New Orleans is hurting-and hurting badly. The local and national govn't need to step up and take action- It is truly disgusting!

Nevertheless, New Orleans is, as anyone who has ever visited will agree, a city unlike any other. In order for its survival, it needs its people back. It is people that make change- I urge people to come back and help rebuild this wonderful city. Help make it the city it was pre-Katrina.
I will not lose hope for this city and its people!

My heart goes out to Paul and the many others affected.
Posted By Anonymous A. H, New Orleans, LA : 3:11 PM ET
Forget New Orleans. Write if off. The same people committing the crimes are the same people you saw in front of the Super Dome waiting on and cursing the government for not coming to their immediate rescue. If that had been me and my 3 kids out there, we would have taken our situation into our own hands and started walking. We would have been in Texas while they still stood out there with their hands out. We have been through many hurricanes ourselves and it never dawned on us to sit there and do nothing but wait on somebody to come fix it.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl, Pensacola, FL : 3:12 PM ET
Wait, wait, wait, over 3,000 troops have given their lives voluntarily for a cause they believe in. Congress and Pres. Bush argue over the 123 billion.
How many lives were lost within our own borders when Katrina struck. How can we possibly fix or destroy any one
elses problems. The world will feel our shame. Bring our guys home and lets tend to our own business. Lets truly help our youth to have pride and feel honor bound to us by showing them that our countrys first priority is and always should have been UNITED STATES CITIZENS. To do anything less is unconscionable. Hey what do I know ?
Posted By Anonymous Wendy Ruff Notasulga, Al. : 3:12 PM ET
More proof that we have a war on our own soil that needs to be fought. Bush, get our troops out of Iraq and focus on rebuilding our nation.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Santa Barbara, CA : 3:13 PM ET
My heart sank reading this story..but anger and rage fill my veins as well. I've been to New Orleans...before Katrina. And even before Katrina I wouldn't go back...I can't imagine what it's like now.

I feel for Paul and his son. Even though I'm a father and husband, I can't come close to comprehending what he is going through.

As far as the city of New Orleans, I can't think of a single nice or insperational thing to say. That hell-hole of a city was given a chance to clean it up after Katrina and they blew it so far...and that is no ones fault but their own.
Posted By Anonymous Brett, York, PA : 3:15 PM ET
I remember when that story originally aired. It was very disheartening to hear of such talent and vibrancy lost to a murder. After her murder, there was a massive protest march against Mayor Ray Nagin. The people were upset at the rapant murders that were taking place. From how it looked on television these murders had affected almost every segment of New Orleans society. The people were also enraged at Nagin's apparent inaction toward violent crime in New Orleans. It is still sad that three months later, after the passionate marching and intense calling from the public to do something in New Orleans to curb crime, Mayor Nagin is only asking for money. I am not saying that they don't need money, but it just seems to me that there is so much more that needs to be done to that is more important that luring people to New Orleans with promises of higher pay, or initiating a program which may or may not work.

Part of the crime problem in New Orleans, which Rick Sanchez pointed out in those earlier reports, was there are so many storm-ravaged homes that no one has claimed. Those abandoned storm-ravaged homes have become home to drug dealers and the down trodden who really don't care about their lives or anybody elses. They can move through New Orleans with ease, selling their dope, committing unlawful acts, and murdering. There are few police, little that the public can do, and a mayor that from the looks of things has his hands tied.

It seems to me that one of the ways of lessening crime is to get rid of those dilapidated homes. Removing the homes, removes the criminals who inhabit them and lessens crime overall. I know that is easier said than done because the Mayor would have to go on a country wide search for thousands of people who own these homes and have not done anything about them to get permission to tear them down. They would have to search the death records to find if owners are deceased and if so, they would have to find their next of kin or locate the bank that owns the property to get permission to demolish the home. In any respect the task of rebuilding New Orleans is a long and arduous one anyway you look at it. I believe that tearing down and rebuilding is the only key to a stronger New Orleans.

Like Ms. Kaye has mentioned, all the rebuilding in the world will not bring back Mrs. Helen Hill Gailiunas to this earth. I truly feel for Mr. Paul Gailiunas, death is not an easy thing to deal with, especially when it is so tragic and so unnecessary.

I pray that in time he will find peace.

Madeliene Bolden
Posted By Anonymous Madeliene Bolden; Atlanta, Georgia : 3:15 PM ET
Shame on New Orleans leaders for failing the citizens that chose to stay. I had a gallery in the French Quarter for four years, and sometimes on a daily basis had to call the police (the station was three blocks away) for help due to mugging, theft, public drunkeness, etc. etc. and less than 10% of the time did a cop even show up. The businesses on our block hired our own private security detail to help with the crime issues because we couldn't count on our police force, mere minutes away, to do their JOB when called upon for help. It was a very frustrating, disheartening reality of life in New Orleans.
After the hurricane, I only imagined that crime would be an even bigger issue than it already was, and decided to take myself and my 2 year old daughter out of what would certainly (and has become) a dire, desperate situation. It is the civil duty of elected officials and employed civil servants and police to protect - they are not, and rarely have, done that in New Orleans. My daughter's godmother committed suicide in May 2006, after trying to stay in the city and help rebuild - and losing all hope, just as many of us have. The heartbreak of losing New Orleans, a city of soul and spirit, will be with me forever.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Bonney Santa Fe, NM : 3:16 PM ET
And you wonder why racism still exist in this country. All you gotta do is read some of these post. Truly sad people who think this way.
Posted By Anonymous Rob C, West Philly, Pa. : 3:16 PM ET
I am from New Orleans. I completely agree that crime is terrible and something needs to be done about it. Please do not think we are sitting back and assuming everyone else in the country should fix the problem for us. There are many community organizations and neighborhood programs that are doing their part. This, however, is not seen nationally. Until you see first hand the devastation the great city of New Orleans has endured, you cannot assume that some residents are not attempting to make a change themselves. I agree the leadership in New Orleans is lacking and our mayor speaks more than he does. Please do not penalize the city for their mistakes. New Orleans is an amazing place with more spirit and love than I have seen from any other city. I have 2 small children and I am proud they will receive the extensive history that New Orleans has to offer. I am not blind to the crime and other issues here. But it is home and it the best home I can ask for. Please give us a look before you judge.
Posted By Anonymous M.W. Broussard New Orleans, LA : 3:20 PM ET
This is a entitlement society that is corrupt and un-governable will not ever fix itself. The very thought of placing more of our tax dollars in this money pit without its very owners there to fix it is unconscionable. And the concept of placing the Louisiana (or any other state�s) guardsmen and women on the street to enforce law is ludicrous. Step up and fix it. Our society begins with one city block and one group of people then blossoms into a great nation.
Posted By Anonymous R.C. Patrick, Bristow VA : 3:20 PM ET
That makes me sick to my stomach. If whomever did this is not caught in this life, he will sure be living an eternity of hardship. How dare that person? My thoughts and prayers are with the Paul and his child.
Posted By Anonymous Amanda, New Orleans, LA : 3:22 PM ET
The majority of murders are committed by someone known to the victim. This story has some really weird elements. Why did he sleep in his son's room that night? Why was she by the front door at 5:30 a.m. and not asleep? Why would you pick your child up as he did and carry him towards the violent struggle? Why didn't the intruder steal anything? Why was she shot in the neck but the husband shot in the arm? Why did he move to Canada when his wife's murder is still under investigation in New Orleans?
Posted By Anonymous Anne Hansen, San Francisco : 3:22 PM ET
My heart goes out to Paul. It's a shame that the good in the world seem to be victimized the most. Thank you Paul for trying to make a difference in New Orleans. I'm sorry the city didn't treat you as you deserved.

As for abandoning New Orleans, it's obvious that Kenny over in Florida has never enjoyed the beauty of New Orleans. Yes the crime is bad, but it is not unstoppable. The Police force needs to be bolstered as well as the Judicial system. Once the criminals start to figure out that they can't get away with murder, they will think twice.

And as far as the 2nd amendment goes, it was referring to militias and not specific individuals. New Orleans has too many guns, its just too easy to get one. If there were less AK47s floating around there might be less murders!
Posted By Anonymous Fidele, Boston MA : 3:23 PM ET
First let me beging by apologizing to Paul and his family for being part of such a great soul who wanted to see that city strive and succeed from what it has become. It's a real shame that Paul and his family had to endure such violence. We need to ask ouselves what can we do to help better that city aside from pouring money into it. Evedently money is not fixing the issues at hand. All these so call gov't officials who's crying injustice where are they in helping rebuild that city and curb the crime that city has fallen to. Like stated before the citizen of New Orleans need to take a stand for themselves and start helping one another. Only then can they start seeing the light of day. You are in my paryers Paul.
Posted By Anonymous Mrs. Turner, Flint, MI : 3:23 PM ET
It isn't just N.O., it's everywhere...
I never go anywhere without protection.

I hate to be cold, but It has come to is either having a close handgun or unfortunately becoming a victim.

The police can't be everywhere and criminals know this.
It is time to wake up America and save yourself, because
we have about reached the lawless times of the old west.
Posted By Anonymous W.L. Lamb Durham, NC : 3:24 PM ET
All my thoughts and prayers go out to Paul and his little boy.....God help New Orleans.....God, comfort this bereft family, provide for them what they need.
Posted By Anonymous Cindy Stewart-Birdwell Lexington, Kentucky : 3:24 PM ET
As a resident of the Westbank of New Orleans, I am sick and tired of the New Orleans stereotype! New Orleans has many problems with drugs and violence - but I would like to see a major U.S. city that doesn't. I dont feel like all New Orleanians need to be lumped together as a people with their hands out. As a resident, I applaud all of those who have rebuilt, reconstructed, and recommitted to building a better New Orleans. The squeaky wheel gets the oil and the press time. Unfortunately what people see on the news they feel like is what we are made of. We have poor leadership and a failing criminal justice system, which we had before the storm. Any city that would have had to deal with destruction of this magnitude would have had a hard time rebounding from this. Instead of criticizing us - pray for us! There are lots of good people who believe in this city and want a change! It is tragic what Paul and his family had to endure - they will be in my prayers!
Posted By Anonymous Rebecca P. F. New Orleans (Westbank), LA : 3:24 PM ET
New Orleans (pre-Katrina) was one of the best places I had ever visited. More than anything what made it so great was the people. It make me very sad hear the state that it is in now with all of the violence and such. I don't know if money will solve the problems (I'm sure it will help)but what I do know is something has to be done. I do not have the answers,I really wish I did, but I don't.
Posted By Anonymous J St. Pete, FL : 3:24 PM ET
Why didn't this guy try to help his wife instead of hiding in the back of the house?
Posted By Anonymous James, Houston TX : 3:27 PM ET
I am really saddened by this story. Not being a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, I too thought, just bulldoze it and refill it with water.
But to many people, it is still home, their lives, and for many the ONLY thing they know.
The city is wounded bad, and those wounds are now infected, New Orleans needs some serious surgery in order to survive and thrive.
Posted By Anonymous Shiryl W., McKinney, Texas : 3:28 PM ET
New Orleans is not worth saving and this further proves it. People is N.O. need to stop drinking, doing drugs, and dressing up in drag and start working and behaving like decent Americans.
Posted By Anonymous Ray, Virginia Beach, VA : 3:35 PM ET
I can see why this story stuck in your mind. I can feel the passion in your writing. Reading this story brings tears to my eyes.
In the past week I have had the opportunity to visit with two "in the know" people from Louisana. Neither thinks that New Orleans will ever be the same. Many of the evacuees had found permanent homes in Louisana, Texas, and other states with no intention of returning. Katrina efforts were a failure from Pre to post by the city, state, and federal government. We desperately need to "fix" this problem.
I love New Orleans and I want it to "rise again". Thanks so much for flying into the Louis Armstrong airport and returning to New Orleans repeatedly. With the help of 360 I believe that some day New Orleans will be bigger, better, and no longer singing the Katrina blues.
"The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"
I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll every know
And I say to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Oh, yeah"
~ sung by Louis Armstrong
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 3:37 PM ET
That is a terrible story. He is correct in stating that dumping money into the city won't work. Where is Jesse and Al on this one? One of the comments states 'inadequate' public housing? The way I look at it, there were to many people not wanting to work to get out of public housing. The people that have tried to restart their lives there are seeing it is a lost cause. Turn out the lights and let nature take it back.
Posted By Anonymous SL, P, ME : 3:39 PM ET
If Paul and Helen had a gun handy for self defense, it might be a totally different story! He could have ended a crime spree and possibly saved his wife's life. The media blurs the distinction between "criminals with guns" and "law-abiding citizens with guns". The police cannot protect you, so who do you think will?!? Buy a gun; learn how to use it safely; sleep well at night.
Posted By Anonymous Steve M, Downingtown, PA : 3:40 PM ET
You have only to visit New Orleans to see what lives there. You would have to be out of your mind to live in such filth....morally, spiritually and physically. Don't hang this around the neck of Katrina. The place has been the same for 50 years.....trash. It's what the people there seem to want.

With what they continue to elect top office, things won't get any better.
Posted By Anonymous Don in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. : 3:41 PM ET
Paul....there are no words that can help, but I hope you know that the thoughts and prayers of so many are with you and your little boy. May the goodness you and your beloved wife gave come back to you and your son. She will always be with you, and she lives on through you and your son. God bless you both.
Posted By Anonymous Jodi, Destin Florida : 3:42 PM ET
Be a good neighbor. But be ARMED.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Mesa Arizona : 3:43 PM ET
My heart goes out to the family, my brother was murder in 1991 while driving a Cab in Colorado Springs. His murder still had not been solved. Sometimes the family left behind has to heal without knowing why but it still leaves the question hanging. The one thing I have learned is you can't hold the city accountable the responsible party/parties is/are the person/people who committed the act in the first place.
Posted By Anonymous S. Rittenhouse, O'Fallon Illinois : 3:43 PM ET
A very tragic story. Unfortunately, it's one that isn't unique to New Orleans. I'll bet you a week's pay that the killer was a past felon who should still have been in jail. The problem is not in the amount of police on the streets, it's with a legal system that lets criminals loose to destroy more lives after serving only a portion of their sentences. This happens nationwide. You could have an army of police officers in New Orleans, but if you don't keep the bad guys locked up.....
Posted By Anonymous J. Hughes, Miami, FL : 3:43 PM ET
This response is for Brett from York, PA: perhaps the only part of the city you chose to visit was the tourist area of Bourbon Street. If you had taken time to see other parts of hte city, you wold realize New Orleans has some of the finest architecture, cuisine and scenery in the world.

I pray nothing as devastating as Hurricane Katrina ever happens in York. And if it does, I hope the people of this country show more compassion than you've shown with your ignorant post.
Posted By Anonymous Lila P., Annapolis, MD : 3:45 PM ET
why rebuild a city where one never should have been built in the first place? The only thing that should live underwater is marine life.
Fighting in Iraq and crime in N.O. are not comparable, the military cannot be a police force by mandate of the constitution. The state should fix their problem, its not the federal governments job to pay for city police forces. The national guard is a state force that can be used as needed but not a replacement for trained law officers.
I cannot imagine the pain and suffering this man and his family have went through and will continue to go through. Drug dealers need to be dealt with harshly (death penalty) and users need rehabilitation to break their habit, why not hypnotize them to never use illegal drugs?
Too many fingers pointing and the wonderful liberal versus conservative PR junk that has stopped progress cold in this country.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Miller, Overland Park, KS : 3:48 PM ET
I've never lived in New Orleans but I've lived in Louisiana all my life. The dirty little secret about Louisiana and New Orleans is, the rest of the state hates that city and it's crime, filth and corruption. The people there have horrible attitudes and are the laziest people you will ever meet in your life. There is no fixing it. It should be dynamited, bulldozed and used to fill in all the land that has been lost to coastal errosion.

Please do not judge the rest of the state by what you see in New Orleans. The people of Louisiana are generous, hard working, self sufficient and kind. If you want proof, just look at the area that was equally devestated by Rita. Those people aren't crying screaming and complaining that the government isn't doing anything for them. They have picked themselves up out of the destruction and are well on their way to having their lives rebuilt and back to normal. The southwestern portion of the state isn't drowning in poverty and crime becuase they are good people. The same I can not say for the "people" of New Orleans. The don't call it "the city that care forgot" for nothing. It's true, nobody there cares about anything not even themselves or their own city.
Posted By Anonymous Cartman, Baton Rouge : 3:51 PM ET
The city of New Orleans reads like a war zone. The Mayor is clearly incompetent. The city should be militarized. There should be Martial Law. There should be a curfew. Troops should be patrolling the zone with automatic rifles. Anyone caught after curfew should be 'dealt with'. Anyone caught in an action of committing a crime should be shot. The criminals are waging a war and they should get a war back.
Posted By Anonymous Maria, New York City : 4:06 PM ET
I agree with poster Ann Hansen. This story is fishy. That was my first reaction. Instead of trying to help his wife, this guy grabs a baby and heads towards her when she is crying for help. From what I am reading about NO most of the murders are black on black and drug related. For an intruder to randomly enter a person's house for no apparant reason and kill one of occupants when there was no struggle is odd. In West Virginia you rarely, rarely, if ever hear of random home invasion crimes. For one reason, people in West Virginia keep guns and you don't go invading a home that probably has a gun in it. What was this guy after? Why did he shoot at unarmed people when they were not threatening him. Something is up here. In most crimes where an intruder is interrputed they just flee.
Posted By Anonymous Kim Charleston W.Va. : 4:08 PM ET
Why isn't this horrible crime rate front page news all over the country? I would think bringing it to the people of the country would be the best way to get the support needed to get the problem fixed. Instead we are being blasted with this Imus bs. I think both the news media and the two "Reverends" have their priorties completely screwed up lately. If Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton really were concerned about making a difference they should get their butts to New Orleans and do some good for once. I am sure they can get a few cameras to follow them so they don't feel too lonely.
Posted By Anonymous mike, chicago IL : 4:09 PM ET
"Bulldozing" the city is a foolish response to make and, apparently, there are lots of foolish people. Should we also bulldoze cities in CA when there is an earthquake, MA when the dam breaks, KS when there is a tornado, etc.? We are all defying Mother Nature with buildings, man made waterways, bridges, etc. It is easy to call for "bulldozing" when it is not your city. I refuse to run away and let the criminals take over.
Posted By Anonymous Mary L., New Orleans, LA : 4:23 PM ET
Wouldn't it be nice if our President and our Government were as focused on helping the situation in New Orleans as they are on "helping" the people of Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Lee, Phoenix Arizona : 4:26 PM ET
As someone who worked in New Orleans for only several months, I, like many others, fell in love with the city instantly. Each time I would step off the plane at Armstrong Airport my spirit would sigh and my mind eased comfortably into that not so frenzied pace you only find in the South these days. But it didn't take long to visibly see and even feel the prickly edge of a gaping social crack that wedged apart an overwhelming poor population and the wealthier few, feeding an undercurrent of hostility and hopelessness. I don't believe a larger police force would have prevented the attack on this man's family that early morning, there are much larger socio-economic issues that need to be addressed for this city to make it's way passed what is was before Katrina, perhaps even to survive at all. I cringe when I hear the cries by the current city administration to "bring New Orleans back to the way it was..." This city's survival, or revival, depends heavily on it's ability to chart a new course and find a "New New Orleans"...and it will take time, perhaps a generation to reach there. To all of you who have stayed or returned to New Orleans, and do more than simply "hope" for a brighter future, I salute you.
Posted By Anonymous Jory, San Diego CA : 3:19 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

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• 12/23/2007 - 12/30/2007
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