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Letters to the Editor 

Natural vs. National
I appreciate the cover story, "Farm Futures," written by Sara Roahen in Gambit (Dec. 3). We at All Natural Foods have promoted organic food for over two decades. It is important that people are informed about organic food as an alternative to the chemical-laden food which is commonly available in the mass market.

Since 1994, All Natural Foods has carried 100 percent organic produce. We have been the organic stronghold of New Orleans, yet we were not interviewed or even mentioned in the Gambit article. This article came out two days before the opening of Whole Foods' new store on Magazine Street. What better advertisement for their opening could they have asked for? Does this national chain need public relations assistance from Gambit?

I remember when Gambit started having national advertisers. This "local rag" was changing. Now, Gambit appears to be supporting Corporate America through editorials, ignoring long-time local businesses. The Gambit of old might have had a feature article about the importance of keeping local businesses alive with the influx of national chains into the city.

As Gambit marches into the future hand-in-hand with Corporate America, our small businesses of New Orleans need local journalistic support. Perhaps those of us who hold on to those things that give New Orleans its charm and flavor do so in vain.

--Michael Zarou
Owner, All Natural Foods


Thank You, Brod Bagert
Brod Bagert opened his heart and soul to plead for the former residents of St. Thomas at a recent City Council meeting ("The Challenger," Dec. 3). The Council barely noticed him.

Mr. Bagert's only agenda was the plight of the St. Thomas residents. He found out the truth. Like the Indians, the residents have been shunted off their land, which is now prime real estate. Pres Kabacoff issued his ultimatums to the Council. The Council lined up, with Mrs. Gill Pratt taking the lead, to bow to King Kabacoff.

These politicians nearly sold us down the river with their water privatization scheme. Now they are targeting the people least able to protect themselves. This city of incredible poverty and horrifying literacy rates in the midst of the most economically successful country in the world continues to destroy its own poor like a Third World leader whose self-interest is the order of the day.

Mr. Bagert must have awoken Saturday morning with a bruised and aching heart, having run into the thick concrete wall of political gain and expediency. I thank him for his courage. Nonetheless, he will recover and head toward a promising future. Unfortunately, the former St. Thomas residents have no future to help ease their broken hearts, hearts betrayed by the City Council.

--Marsha Walley and Adolph Lopez


The Genteel DA
My attention was called to your allusion (or illusion) of former multi-term Orleans District Attorney and Louisiana Attorney General Eugene Stanley in your commentary ("Legalize Medical Marijuana," Nov. 12). As Mr. Stanley's nephew, this is my reply:

Man, it's tough being long dead and having few who remember what you were really like when a journalist decides to quote you, vaguely, by indirect innuendo. Fortunately for Eugene Stanley, among the few who remembered and recorded the larger thrusts of his work was T. Harry Williams, the acclaimed historian. In the pages of Williams' masterwork Huey Long, Mr. Stanley is portrayed as a figure of considerable backbone and acumen, with integrity of a near heroic sort given the context of his times. A stark contrast to most people's view of today's legal profession.

I spent countless hours in his household (he had no children), primarily in the company of my aunt, but often with him. Recollection of my uncle brings remembrance of a man of genteel qualities who liked to entertain his young nephew by taking him to see trains and ships. He occasionally offered admonition against playing with fireworks, but that was about as severe as he would get. In his home, you would hardly know that it was the Deep South in the 1950s. Never from him, in contrast to some of my Uptown schoolmates, most of whom were from the "best families," did one hear the "N" word, nor any jingoist racial comment of any flavor. The closest I can come to race-related recollections of him would be his taking calls, in his days as a criminal defense attorney, from black as well as white clients in trouble late at night. He also went occasionally out of his way, and out of his pocket, to be sure that the household domestic lady had her major medical needs provided for. These were the days before all of us liberals made the government, with its now huge "services" bureaucracy, responsible for everything. Though the late DA might have been taken aback by the decidedly "left" activism of my college and post-graduate years, I am confident he would not have been a harsh critic of the counterculture politics of myself and my baby-boomer generation. He was too tolerant.

In short, from my youthful but keen recall of this man, I see little that would fit with the curious caricature-like "reflected" reference you provided in attempting to make opposition to the legalization of "medical" marijuana look silly.

As I reviewed your haw-haw put-down of a man who has justifiably gone down in history for having honorably stood his ground against Louisiana's most powerful and strong-willed governor, I experienced your piece as a rather surreal departure from reality. One could probably dig up selective statements on minor issues from virtually any local politician or journalist of days gone by which would tend to disfavor their memory by today's lights.

But your attribution and the exceptionally indirect manner in which it was put make one need to ask, "What is it y'all are smoking?"

--Doug Roome

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