Every Single Life
In a stark reminder of what it takes to come home and stay, musician Dinerral Shavers was killed yesterday while driving down Dumaine with his wife and children. A drummer, music teacher and part of the city we cannot afford to lose, he was gunned down with the senseless violence stalking New Orleans in ever-increasing statistics.
"Every time you saw him, he was the same person with a great smile," said fellow musician James Andrews. "A wonderful person with plenty of encouraging words. He was going to make it, too.
"He wasn't stingy with trying to teach the kids his stuff. He was a great drummer.
"And through the Hot 8 his music will live on forever. Through New Orleans," James said.
One of Dinerral's band members has been staying in the NOmrf apartment when he comes back to town to work, and he had been happy that the band's gig phone got turned back on over Christmas.
The Hot 8 was most recently known for their second line through the Ninth Ward with David Gregg Andrews in Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke." His mother's home was the one in the movie that floated across the street and landed in her neighbor's yard. Her quote from the movie was that he can't say she never gave him anything.
James is right - Dinerral was going to make it. His band was working on an album and his students are going to march for Mardi Gras - the first marching band the school has ever had, thanks to his teaching efforts.
Seven New Orleans policemen were just indicted for shooting civilians on a bridge post 8/29. Drummer Scott Sherman died under mysterious circumstances in that area. His brother Chris was first told by the coroner's office that Scott was shot in the head, then later told something else. Regardless of the circumstances, he's gone. Their last gig was Dr. Specs Optical Illusions with my husband at Mystic Knights of the Mau Mau party, summer 2005.
I kept passing signs this week on the way to the French Quarter. Rev. John C. Raphael Jr. and his son are on a hunger strike and they stand with their supporters between the lines of traffic holding signs that simply say, "Enough."
The story of Dinerral's slaying was covered locally, and combined with news of the other murder last night. A man whose 9-month pregnant girlfriend was left grieving at the scene.
Let's hope for the day when New Orleans murders no longer happen with the frequency that requires more than one killing per story.
Most international news bureaus have closed their New Orleans offices. I was told off the record by a national outlet not to bother pitching any story with the words second line, devastation or Katrina because the public is no longer interested. So we've been trying to slip around the picket line with "Redefine 8/29." Because I am tired of how hard the rest of the country is working to forget the post-disaster struggle from day to day.
With 2007 approaching, let us hope for the day when the national media again picks up the story of every single life lost in our city.
Every. Single. Life.