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Letters to the Editor 

Remembering an Old Friend

As a former employee of Gambit Weekly, I would like to add a few comments to go along with your moving tribute to Susan Crichton (Martineau) ("The Best of Gambit," Aug. 26).

All of the qualities mentioned were correct -- her skill, her ability to work with people, her respect for the integrity of the business. To that, I would add that she was a kind person who managed to stay that way even through the pressures of what is often a hard and demanding profession.

I last saw Susan in 1997, shortly before she moved to Oregon. She was seated at a table toward the back of the room during an overly long luncheon. Having heard she was leaving town, I wanted very much to talk to her, but by the time the speeches were over, she had left. The spot where she had been sitting was that of a person in a hurry to go back to work.

Thinking about that day reminds me of the opportunities that we all lose by not seizing the chance to revisit past acquaintances. "Maybe I'll see her when she comes to New Orleans again," I thought to myself, though not really believing it. I wish we all still had the chance.

--Errol Laborde

A Moving Tribute

I was touched by your article on Susan Crichton (Martineau) ("The Best of Gambit," Aug. 26). It was so well written and brought me a quiet moment of sadness and reflection.

I knew Susan quite casually and always found her to be an upbeat and fun person. Her sunny disposition came back to me in your story, and I thought you captured her essence. What a tragic loss of a very nice person.

--David Oestreicher

Don Lee Keith, Teacher

Thanks for a wonderful tribute to my oldest and dearest friend ("Remembering Don Lee Keith," Aug. 19).

It seems that some people thought that Don Lee Keith was, as you said, "just biding his time" in teaching, but I never got that impression from him. I think, from the first, he truly enjoyed it, although he had never taught a day in his life. He and I often agreed that the fact that one had never tried something had absolutely no bearing on the fact that one could and should try -- and fake it, if necessary. He often called me (and in recent years learned not to call after 9 at night) to talk about students, and he'd send tests for me to evaluate -- or take if he thought he could trip me up. (I teach writing, too.)

About three years ago, he came to my school and met with my class; they were charmed. I can tell by Kris Bares' column that she took home the ideas he meant for her to have.

--Tony Franks

Un reasonable Suspicion

I am the same age as Rod Amis, I am white, and I have known him for a good number of years ("Reasonable Suspicion?" Sept. 2). Indeed, he worked for me during the dot-com boom. More than once, I have handed him small sums of money, and he has handed me similarly small sums. These transactions were all on the order of "Hey, I'm going to the corner store. Want me to pick something up for you?" Friends and co-workers do this sort of thing all the time -- unless, apparently, they are New Orleans police officers.

Rod is the most unlikely drug dealer imaginable. He is a quiet, bookish person -- a writer, not a thug. A police officer who wastes time arresting someone like Rod while criminals are out and about is wasting taxpayers' money, as is any prosecutor who wants to put him on trial. Perhaps New Orleans has a huge budget surplus. Bradenton, Fla., where I live, certainly doesn't have law enforcement money to squander on such tomfoolery.

--Robin Miller
Bradenton, Fla.

Amis a Victim of Profiling

I have known Rod Amis for 15 years ("Reasonable Suspicion?" Sept. 2). His honesty and integrity are beyond reproach. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a victim of racial profiling. Get real, folks!

If the New Orleans Police Department saw two white men exchanging cash outside a store, they would not give it a second thought. A black man handing money to a younger white man does not fit into their limited concept of reality. Rod's only crime is walking while black in racist America. This gross violation of Rod's civil rights is just another sad reminder of how far we, as a society, have to go before skin pigmentation is no longer a dominant factor of life in these Dis-United States.

--Bill Purcell
Oakland, Calif.

What New Orleans Needs

Your Aug. 12 commentary "Preparing for War" points out the disturbing reality that New Orleans is more dangerous than Baghdad. Sobering.

But more police, more video cameras, more money and a "false sense of security" won't do it, as it hasn't done it in the past (maybe a lull, but no lasting change). Change the social and economic realities, educate, give hope and widen the horizon. Make the instruments of mayhem and destruction go away -- we possess here WMD: the gun is instrumental in most of the homicides in this city. One hundred and fifty homicides in six months are, in my myopic view, DMfD (deaths in mass from destruction).

This city needs more. Mayor Nagin, this city deserves more.

--Fred Husserl

"Violations of Taste"

The Best Of New Orleans&174; issue (Aug. 26) illustrated violations of taste having to do with the Faubourg Marigny, my chosen home since 1967.

The issue cover shows the front of a home on Marigny Street. The paint job done on this beautiful house, with its vulgar pink shutters, defies any description of taste. A once stately and dignified house has been reduced to sissification.

Cafe Unique ("Rebirth of Soul," Restaurant Review, Aug. 26) has denuded the interior of this once fascinating neighborhood institution, The Harbor Restaurant. What was once full of soul has been rendered soulless.

--Clayton A. Gould


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