On behalf of my family, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Clancy DuBos for the story of Stephen Ambrose's impact on him and on this community ("A Love Affair with America," Oct. 22).
The outpouring from friends all over has been a great comfort to me and my family. We wish to thank everyone for their expressions of grief at his passing and for their gratitude for his many contributions to the city he loved so very much, New Orleans.
It saddens all of us knowing he won't be with us for the upcoming bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase or the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We all know how hard he worked to bring attention to these anniversaries. He wanted to inspire in others the same awe that he held for these achievements in our nation's history.
Clancy DuBos is one of several great and gifted writers who studied under my father at UNO. Ronnie Virgets, Ronald J. Drez and Jerry Strahan are among those who also share that distinction.
Again, our family wishes to express our gratitude to Gambit Weekly and Mr. Clancy DuBos for the wonderful story. Happy Trails, Hang Tough and Off We Go!
Thank you for a fabulous column on Stephen Ambrose. I spent $200 on books the last time I was at the D-Day Museum. I once told him, as he was plowing through my foot-high stack of paperback copies of his work under duress to autograph each one, "Not sure I can read all your books in one lifetime, but I'm trying." I'm sure he's having a wonderful reunion now with those soldiers he helped immortalize.
Respect Your Mom-and-Pop
G.K. Darby is to be commended for his literary undertakings, but it is wrong for him to attack local independent booksellers just because they don't carry his titles ("G.K. Darby Takes on the World," Oct. 22). To begin with, he criticizes "the whole Faulkner thing," which is ridiculous because Rosemary James and Joe DeSalvo do more than anyone in New Orleans for struggling and established local writers of every genre.
Mr. Darby also takes shots at Maple Street and Beaucoup Books. Does this mean he prefers Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million? He did say he thought he was "hot shit" when Borders began to carry his book.
Through his publishing, Mr. Darby seems committed to championing the "little guy." If this is the case, it is very inconsistent of him to bash small independent booksellers, a dying breed engaged in a life-or-death struggle with corporate America.
Signs of the Times
You threw a brickbat at "political candidates" (Oct. 15) for posting campaign signs on neutral grounds. That brickbat should have been shared with the 75 percent of the electorate that did not bother to vote on Saturday, Oct. 5.
You hope that candidates will find a less intrusive means to advertise their candidacy. Faced with an apathetic turnout of 25 percent, what do you suggest? For many candidates, the only way to engage voters is on the street, with election day reminders. We should all hope that voters exercise their right and responsibility to vote for the candidates and constitutional amendments of their choice on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
If the majority of voters voted, there would be no need for such election day clutter.
--Michael W. Tift
We'll Always Have Paris
The ghosts of the Vieux Carre must be shaking their heads over the irony. Recall that a significant portion of New Orleans' first settlers were vagrants collected against their will from the streets of Paris. Now we're pushing that same caste from New Orleans' first streets ("Walking While Homeless," Sept. 24; "Dumping Zone," Sept. 3; "Tents Time for the Homeless," July 23).
No doubt the ghosts want the Quarter to be, at long last, cleaned up. But rounding up the homeless? You'd think that in three centuries' time we'd come up with a better approach. This time, in fact, because we're sending them nowhere in particular but jail, this approach is worse. At best, all it does is push the homeless into other neighborhoods.
So maybe we should send them out to start a new settlement in, say, eastern New Orleans or on the Northshore. Or at least send them back to Paris. Of course, I bet they'd make their way back anyway, especially the ones who tend to talk to themselves. For, as Lafcadio Hearn wrote more than a century ago, maybe they're not really talking to themselves, but to the ghosts of the Vieux Carre.
Where Was Gray?
While thumbing through the Sept. 24 Gambit Weekly, I ran across an article that concerned me. In the commentary ("Dale Atkins for District Attorney"), there was a ringing endorsement for Dale Atkins for DA. In the opening paragraph, you state that there are eight candidates in the DA's race, however, only six names are mentioned. I immediately noticed that you failed to list Mr. James Gray as a candidate. Was this an oversight? Was attorney Gray interviewed? I could make one of several conclusions as to why this was done (or not done), but I would hope that the oversight was an honest mistake. As I recall, you were searching for "impartiality, integrity and independence" in a candidate; I presume that you used the same three tools in expressing your opinion.
Editor's note: Washington is among many readers who pointed out our oversight. In fact, Gambit Weekly did interview James Gray during our endorsement process. In our commentary, we inadvertently failed to note Gray's impressive resume and sound proposals for improving the office. We regret the oversight and apologize for any confusion this may have caused.