Murder In New Orleans: No Big Thing on the Big Easy

The story of the New Orleans holocaust played itself out in, of all places, a hospital, where people go to live, rather than to die. At the New Orleans Memorial Medical Center, as the city filled up with water, doctors — most of them white — decided that some people had to die, because the water was rising and there was no reason to believe that any help was coming from the outside world. This is where, in the extremes of crisis, we see basic impulses of people come to the fore.

Nine patients, most of them Black, were injected with overdoses of lethal chemicals, in the same massive dosage — a clear pattern of homicide, all committed in the same hours. The doctors did not die, but their patients did. Their patients were poor people, who had no power. The doctors were of a different class, and were treated as such.

A grand jury acquitted the doctors. We all know that grand juries are functionaries of prosecutors, who choose are do not choose to prosecute crimes. So the doctors that committed murders — or, if you may prefer the word, euthanasia — got away, because the prosecutors of New Orleans did not value the lives of the victims. They valued upper class, white people’s lives more than Black, older folks lives. These murderous criminals are carousing at the Mall, right now, grinning at each other, and telling their children that they are moral people.

These murderous criminals are carousing at the Mall, right now.

This felonious immorality is only possible in a society that is based on racial domination. Nothing else explains the small genocide that occurred in Memorial Medical Center, or the larger crime that took the lives of over a thousand New Orleans residents, and scattered hundreds of thousands to the four winds. We don’t know where they are. The prevailing white opinion does not want to know.

So now, back to the hospital in New Orleans, where at least nine patients were put to death by lethal injection by doctors — and the legal establishment has absolved the killers of charges. Imagine if nine white, upper class people had been assassinated. There would be hell to pay. But mostly Black, entirely poor groups of people don’t deserve to live — certainly not at times of crisis that taxes the nerves of doctors and district attorney lawyers and such. Please don’t tax their fragile nerves: they might kill you.

What we are addressing is institutional racism, in its basic form: murder. The Memorial Medical Center murders were only one of many — through the ages. We must kill the beast, of racism.

Glen Ford is Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, where this article first appeared. He can be contacted at: Read other articles by Glen, or visit Glen's website.

3 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. karash said on September 9th, 2007 at 11:28am #

    This particular idea doesn’t seem to make any sense. I understood that the doctors euthanized people who were starving, dehydrated, and cut off from necessary supplies, as the waters came in, which promised that those people would receive none of what they needed for many days longer, and suffer needlessly.

  2. mcQuaidLA said on September 10th, 2007 at 12:21am #

    This is a really sorry attempt to exploit a tragedy and vilify people who don’t deserve it. Mr. Ford has no idea what he’s talking about. There was no electricity. Nurses were ventilating patients by hand (the machine respirators weren’t functioning) they were running out of painkillers, antibiotics, saline and everything else you need to keep patients comfortable and alive. If Mr. Ford wants to blame someone, he should blame the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bush and Clinton Administrations and Congress, which did nothing to shore up a system of levees known to be badly in need of repair and augmentation. This handy dandy little scenario of “privileged white doctor vs. poor black patient” is a cheap, easy and inaccurate shot.

  3. Deadbeat said on September 10th, 2007 at 5:28pm #

    It’s obvious that the comments above misses the point raised by Mr. Ford and that is the “injustice” system obvious hypocrisy when it comes to issues of race and class.

    It is not a cheap, easy and inaccurate but goes to the very core of the problems within U.S society and why there will NEVER be any real changes here.