A Conversation with A.C. Thompson

A journalist talks about white paranoia and why Mayor C. Ray Nagin is partly to blame for vigilante justice during Katrina.

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Wright: This is another story that makes it hard to imagine New Orleans as a society that can move forward. At the end of the piece, one shooting victim says he's galled at the impunity these guys have. I almost envision this spiraling, racial violence. Do you see this spiraling forward?

Thompson: This story has been buried in New Orleans and elsewhere, as well. In a lot of ways, this is not something that people think about or talk about, it's kind of a chapter that has been stowed in the Katrina time period, and people want to forget about it. That's both black folks and white folks who I spoke to. A lot of them take Katrina and the time period immediately afterward and they say, "That's something I don't want to think about any more." The problem is Katrina keeps coming into the present. Especially for a guy like Donnell Harrington, who was shot and almost killed and his life has never been the same sense.

Kai Wright is a regular contributor to The Root.

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