Voices On Violence

Voices on Violence arose as a response to the Mother’s Day second-line parade shootings in New Orleans that injured 20 people. Comprised of one-on-one interviews with a diverse group of residents, the series — a partnership between WWNO and NolaVie — explores why and how people live here, how they assess risk, and what specific things they believe can help change the cycle of violence in New Orleans.

Please join the conversation: send commentary, responses and interview suggestions to voices@nolavie.com.

Jason Kruppa / NolaVie

Who:  Valerie West, 44, a New Orleans native who returned home after years of traveling the world as a military wife because her kids wanted to graduate from high school in the city in which they were born. A housekeeper at Ochsner who lets loose every Sunday as an active member of the New Orleans second-line culture (her club is the Original New Orleans Lady Buckjumpers). A teen mother who saw all three of her kids go to college. A woman whose life was forever changed by violence.

In her own words, here’s what Valerie has to say about:

Jason Kruppa / NolaVie

What in the world am I doing here?

Why do I stay?

In light of the drama surrounding the recent Mother’s Day second-line parade tragedy, I bet I’m not the only one asking these questions today. Friends from upstate New York to the West Coast heard about this one, and they are all asking me these same questions.

Jason Kruppa / NolaVie

Who:  Marco Topete, 30, a Mexican immigrant who came to New Orleans in 2005 with other members of the Texas Volunteer Firefighters Association as part of the initial search and rescue efforts following Hurricane Katrina.  An engineer by training, who has fallen in love with the endless possibilities of New Orleans culture, Marco is a husband; the father of a 1-year-old son; the owner of a start-up construction and design company; and an active member in the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, a 3-year old Mardi Gras krewe that celebrat

Jason Kruppa / NolaVie

Who: Don Frampton has been senior pastor of St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church for the past 19 years. After Hurricane Katrina, his church created Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans (RHINO), which has brought more than 6,000 volunteers to New Orleans and built 29 homes through Habitat for Humanity.

In his own words, here's what Don has to say about:

Jason Kruppa / NolaVie

Who: Edward Anderson, 46, a musician, educator, husband and father. Born into a longtime New Orleans family of teachers and pharmacists, he received his undergraduate degree in music from Xavier University, his master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York and, most recently, his doctorate in composition from the Louisiana State University School of Music. He has been a high school teacher and a college professor, and is a practicing musician playing trumpet with several jazz groups in town.

A recent study found that the average American hears 100,000 words per day. That's a lot of Tweets! With so much information swirling around us, is it any wonder that Americans may have forgotten the fine art of actually listening to what we hear? Here is a case for listening — to the voices surrounding one of our city's most pressing issues.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between hearing someone and listening to them.