By Lolis Eric Elie
On the wall of the writers’ office, we have a timeline, a month-by-month chart of what happened in New Orleans from the fall of 2006 to the spring of 2007. We group these events into categories: music/culture, crime, police, land use/planning, environment, education and mental health. The writers consult these notes in order to include references to major events and allusions to minor ones in the script. This will give you some idea of the issues we’ve considered in putting together Season 2. I’ll go a step further. In case you can’t read them, here are some of the notes on those cards:
- October 2006: Zachary Bowen commits suicide by jumping off the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel roof; policefind the body of his girlfriend, Addie Hall, dismembered and partially cooked. He had strangled her 2 weeks earlier and embarked on a bender.
- November 2006: Food writer Alan Richman dumps on N.O. culinary scene in GQ article, inciting local wrath.
- November 2006: Murder-suicide of middle-aged couple in their FEMA trailer: cops say 47-year-old husband had sought psych help but couldn’t find a hospital bed.
- December 2006: New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin announces the appointment of Ed Blakely as “recovery czar.”
- December 2006: “Dollar Bill” Jefferson gets re-elected to the U.S. House, despite a federal investigation into bribery/extortion. Wins against Dem. Karin Carter with 61% of the vote.
- January 2007: Saints win divisional round playoff game vs. Philly Eagles in Superdome.
- February 2007: Mardi Gras.
- March 2007: City Planning Commission solicits public comments re: the completed Unified New Orleans Plan.
- April 2007: A Times-Picayune article exposes the Recovery School District’s lenient grading policy, in which high school students can still pass their classes even if their quarterly grades average F for the year; outrage ensues.
- May 2007: ACLU wins lawsuit on behalf of Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs, reducing permit fees from $3,790 to $1,985.