I know I’ve said this before (let’s be honest: At this point, after two years of writing a weekly blog, there’s pretty much nothing that I haven’t said before), but I have a weird hierarchy about a lot of things.

I had to self-administer more than 500 shots of blood thinner into my stomach over the course of my pregnancy. Shooting up wasn’t my favorite part of the day, but I was largely unfazed by it. Needles don’t freak me out. But by the time I’d thrown up for maybe the 25th time, I was in my OB’s office begging for antinausea meds. Needles, fine. Vomiting, no.

I’m kind of weird about food, too. I will gladly eat lima beans, escargot, sweetbreads and brussels sprouts – and I even did so as a kid – but I’m not going near shrimp. It is, I’m told, the most innocuous of shellfish; even people who don’t like seafood like shrimp. Not me.

All of this is by way of saying that, for some reason, by and large, the crime in this city just kind of rolls off my back. Yes, it sucked when a group of my friends and I were robbed at gunpoint after a Jazz Fest Friday – but the next day, we went back to Jazz Fest and sang our lungs out and danced till our feet were sore and ate cochon de lait and felt a little happier to be alive than we had been the day before. Yes, it sucked when my house was broken into, but our neighbors came over to help us clean up the mess, and we made friends with them, and then we all ate delicious takeout from Mona’s and talked about how grateful we were to have been unharmed, how things were just things, how happy we were that the burglars had left some things unharmed. I didn’t like it, and I don’t like that attitude generally – let’s ignore the city’s problems and just drink and have a party! – but overall, I think it upset me approximately as much as it upsets me when someone compulsively and consistently misuses the word “literally,” which is to say “a lot but not for long.”

But then, of course, those crimes, though invasive and stressful, were not violent. I was scared but not scarred – in any way. I thankfully have never been a victim of a violent crime, but violent crimes, obviously, and particularly violent crimes against innocent people, shake me to the core. I cried all the way up in Missouri when Helen Hill was murdered. I was deeply troubled and saddened when Wendy Byrne was shot by a couple of scared kids in a botched armed robbery. And I was really upset when chef Nathanial Zimet of Boucherie was shot twice during an armed robbery in May. It was different with Nathanial – better because he wasn’t killed but worse because I actually know him (not well, mind you, but well enough to always make sure his first name is spelled correctly).

Although Nathanial is recovering, he is, like many people in the restaurant industry here, without medical insurance, and just as my neighbors came over and helped clean up after we were robbed, the community is rallying around Nathanial with a benefit this weekend at Howlin’ Wolf. I want to say what a great thing this is, how very New Orleans it is to take such good care of one of our own … except that one of our own did this to him in the first place. I’ve been helping out a little bit this week with the benefit, picking up auction items, and although the outpouring of support has been heartwarming and amazing, it’s also a little staggering to think about just how many good people it’s taking to help right the wrongs of just one asshole with a gun.

Still, I’m definitely going to go, and you should too. Benefits here, no matter how noble the cause, are fun above all else – and yes, I know I’ve said that before.

Beasts and Brass will be held at the Howlin’ Wolf at 5 p.m. this Sunday. Please visit
benefit4nathanial.eventbrite.com for more information.