Journalist among those wounded in second line shooting

Published: May. 13, 2013 at 7:55 PM CDT|Updated: May. 13, 2013 at 8:59 PM CDT
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Deborah Cotton, seen in a file photo provided by Gambit
Deborah Cotton, seen in a file photo provided by Gambit

Among the victims of Sunday's second line shooting is a blogger for Gambit Weekly who has dedicated her life to covering and promoting New Orleans' culture. Now, Deborah Cotton remains in critical condition.

"Every six months someone you know or a friend of someone is murdered - after a while, it begins to tear at you internally. I fell that we're at the point we can not not fix this anymore," Deborah Cotton said in an interview recorded in May 2012 for an online documentary series called "The Angle", produced by Park Triangle Productions.

Cotton is a transplant from Los Angeles who fell in love with the city pre-Katrina and dedicated herself to preserving its culture after the storm.

"Writing about social aid and pleasure clubs, second lines, Mardi Gras Indians and New Orleans street culture... trying to show off the good that's in this city, which makes it all the more ironic that something like this would happen to someone like that," said Gambit Editor Kevin Allman when asked to describe Cotton's work.

Cotton is one of the most ardent defenders of social club culture, publishing numerous articles on the topic.

Allman says Gambit's staff is struggling with Sunday's shootings: "Like everyone else, we are just shaken by the magnitude of this and the brazenness of this in a city that's all too used to violence.  I think this is one that's shocked everybody to the core."

Allman describes Cotton as a ray of light whose dedication to New Orleans is unshakeable: "I can't imagine this will change her mind about the city."

Perhaps now more than ever, Cotton's words in that 2012 documentary are as haunting as they are moving: "I believe this can be prevented. We are just not being smart and strategic about how to address this in a systematic way. The overarching problem is the lack of education and resources and employment opportunities for young black men. It can be addressed, we just aren't rising to the occasion."

Gambit is teaming up with Tipitina's Foundation to host a concert benefiting the victims of Sunday's shootings. The concert will raise money to help with medical bills as well as replace the musical instruments destroyed in the chaos.

The date hasn't been determined yet, but FOX 8 will keep you posted as soon as details are ironed out.