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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


First Draft's Athenae: "Our Lady of the Driveway"

How it was

Thanks to Athenae from First Draft for this great and important cross-post - THANKS A!

A First Draft group of 14 bloggers and readers has
come down to New Orleans to gut houses this weekend,
and continue Scout's excellent reporting on the
aftermath of Katrina. This is a cross-post from First
Draft, look for other posts over the weekend.

She was standing at the entrance of somebody's
driveway, as we drove past looking for the spot where
the levees broke and the water came rushing past.
Scout would know the precise name of it, the name of
the street: we drove around today for two hours
looking at places she'd been and I'd never imagined.
Mary, full of grace, with her head cracked off and put
back on, and all the broken places showing.

What you don't want, what you aggressively don't want,
when you're going through something, is some
comfortably situated loudmouth telling you they know
exactly what you're going through. Misery hates
company. Misery hates shallowness more. Misery hates,
above all, being lectured at. We came to put our hands
to use places where they could be used. I came, having
been here as a child only once and only briefly (there
was a doll shop, and a doll with a purple hat with
ostrich feathers, and the raised graves concerned me,
is all I remember). The light is different and the
streets are narrow and everything smells sweet, like
something baking, and this is what we saw, around the
city, today.

People communicated through markings on houses, a
code: who was here, when, what they found and what
they left. A dog is trapped, in black spraypaint. No
pets, in green. One body, marked in red. People
painted their own street signs, because nobody else
did it and it had to be done. In the Lower 9th Ward,
there are electrical cables lying across the road
ways. There is a house sitting on a car.

There were tourists on the plane, necks wrapped with
beads, drunk and silly and out for a good time. The
plane was full, the Quarter crowded. A five minute
drive away and it's a ghost town. Two men sitting on a
blue porch on a street called Forstall (which makes me
think foreĀ·stall [fohr-stawl, fawr-] verb, to
prevent, hinder, or thwart by action in advance; to
act beforehand with or get ahead of; anticipate
wave at us as we drive past. They once lived on a
block of houses. They're all alone now, other houses
in the 9th having been torn down. Weeds creep up past
the level of the stoops that still stand there, ivy
reclaiming the debris.

The school's fence is crushed like a giant stepped on
it. The house behind Mary, the windows were blown out,
broken glass everywhere. The Lord is with thee. She's
standing watch, blessed among women, her and the kid
with the visor and stop sign warning us that there's
road work ahead and to turn back.

More tomorrow, or later tonight.

- posted by Athenae of First Draft