We've all got our public exteriors and our much more complicated, multi-textured inner lives.
Every family has a story. Many stories.
Then, there's the Jeffersons.
Once the authors of an epic climb from poverty to the halls of power, from fields of rural Louisiana to Ivy League robes, from nothing to everything, and now... what would be the term?
The epic fall from grace. And a very public one.
The price of living not only as public individuals, but as a public family, once so unassailable and inspirational – and politically unbeatable – bears a heavy cost in reverse.
With a spouse bludgeoned to death this past week, the Jeffersons have reached rock bottom.
It seemed like family scion William Jefferson's processing into federal prison ten days ago would bring a sad, quiet close to the labyrinthian tale of bribery, skullduggery, financial legerdemain and family betrayal that has wrought the Jeffersons so much disgrace – and news coverage – over the past decade.
Long ago was the freezer. The money. The cold hard cash.
Images we will never forget.
Now replaced by news of Sandra Jefferson beaten to death in her own home; her husband Archie Jefferson, already a convicted felon, taken into custody Sunday on an unrelated outstanding traffic warrant, and so few family members able to step forward in defense of the Jefferson name so mired in legal tangles of their own.
In between siblings, in-laws and confidantes scooped up in myriad criminal conspiracies and allegations.
Who could make up such a tale? Who would believe it?
My own personal antipathy towards the family at large – loathing for the family elders' years of misdeeds and misrule – most often perpetrated upon or guised in the masquerade of assisting the neediest of New Orleans residents, has morphed into bloodless pity.
Pity the power seekers. Pity the money chasers.
Pity the victim of homicide, and her own family, married, not born, into this morbid curiosity of one of New Orleans' most powerful families, a true Shakespearean tale of royalty, revenge, death.