Special mass, blood drive held for shooting victims

Published: May. 23, 2013 at 2:16 AM CDT|Updated: May. 30, 2013 at 2:16 AM CDT
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New Orleans, La. - With only a handful of parishioners in the pews, music filled the St. Anna's Episcopal Church.

During a special mass held for the 20 victims of the Mother's Day shootings, Father Bill Terry says now is the time to have some hard conversations about what's really going on.

"We say this is all the same 10 families and they're all a bunch of hoodlums. Well, when we round up those 10 families, there's going to be another 10 and then another 10 in their place. We have to break this cycle of violence," says Father Terry.

Father Terry started what's been called the murder board at the church back in 2007. He lists the names of murder victims across New Orleans.

When gunmen opened fire on the second line crowd at Frenchmen and N. Villere Streets on Mother's Day, he says he felt a sense of desperation. "It reminded me that work has not stopped. This is going to be a long-haul deal. There is no quick fix," says Father Terry.

He pointed out to parishioners that they all must be a part of the solution.

Deb Cotton, a freelance journalist, was among the victims. Despite having a long road to recovery, Cotton writes in a statement released to news media that she knew from the moment the shooting happened that she did not want these young men thrown to the wolves.

Cotton says there is clearly a disconnect in the shooting suspects' hearts that would allow them to commit such a horrible crime. She went on to say there are programs that are making great strides in making a difference in people's lives which have not been given a full blown chance to succeed.

Also Wednesday, people rolled up their sleeves to donate blood for the victims at a drive at the Frenchmen Street Art Market, just a few blocks away from where the shootings occurred.

Each person, in their own way, was affected by what happened. Now, they are giving back to a community desperate to stop the violence.