Reprehensible, Said LaToya, As The Bodies Moldered

There’s a meme floating around the internet which is indelicate, to say the least, but we think is uproariously funny in that classic acidic New Orleans gallows-humor style you might have to be from the Big Easy to truly appreciate. A decidedly unhealthy amount of negativity and disgust from seeing how that city’s putrid public sector, and particularly its thoroughly putrid mayor LaToya Cantrell, operates is required to fully enjoy this…

When photos of the exposed corpse of Quinnyon Wimberly, a construction worker crushed when the unfinished Hard Rock Hotel collapsed on top of him, began surfacing earlier this week after the tarp the city had draped over his legs as they hung at the edge of the ruined building for passers-by to see, Mayor LaToya put out a statement on Facebook expressing her outrage over ghoulishness on social media…

“A tarp put in place to conceal the remains of one of the victims of the Hard Rock collapse has been shifted by the wind—exposing those remains. The condition of the building and the altitude above street level complicate efforts to replace the tarp, as they have prevented recovery thus far.

“To be clear: capturing or sharing images of the victims in such a condition is irresponsible, it is indefensible, and it is not who we are as New Orleanians. Out of respect to the victims and their families, and in the name of basic common decency: we urge news outlets, residents, and social media users to have nothing to do with making a tragic situation needlessly worse.”

…and sent her fire chief Tim McConnell out to denounce the takers and distributors of those photos as “reprehensible.”

McConnell said that the city became aware of the situation when they were alerted to posts on social media showing the remains.

“I cannot urge people enough to respect the families of these victims,” he said. “Anyone who would think of posting something like this… it is reprehensible.”

McConnell said that the condition of the building remains dangerous. He said that areas that allowed access to the remains before are now no longer able to be accessed.

That was Wednesday afternoon. By yesterday there was a new tarp covering Wimberly’s body, so obviously it wasn’t impossible for McConnell’s men to place the tarp there.

And LaToya Cantrell is now becoming a national household name as the mayor who does nothing about exposed, rotting corpses dotting her downtown area.

This is becoming a problem for her, as you might imagine. Her sojourn to Washington Mardi Gras was spoiled yesterday by the pesky members of the New Orleans City Council, who are now demanding hearings into the treatment of Wimberly’s corpse – demands that LaToya is vituperatively rejecting.

Council members have largely been sidelined and quiet since the top floors of the 18-story building collapsed Oct. 12, killing three workers and injuring many more. But on Thursday, amid a fury that grew after the remains of one worker on the building’s upper floors were exposed to public view, several members of the council called for public hearings into the disaster.

At least four council members are now backing council hearings into the collapse.

“I believe it is the role of this legislative body to ensure and demand a proper investigation and seek the truth behind this tragedy,” Councilwoman Helena Moreno said in a press release Thursday afternoon. “While we have been patient as the official investigation is still ongoing, ultimately, those responsible must be held to account — both for the victims and for the city as well so that we see to it that this never happens again.”

Those calls, however, ran into quick opposition from Cantrell and her administration.

“Investigation into this incident will be handled by the appropriate law enforcement authorities within the judicial system,” Cantrell spokesman Beau Tidwell said in a statement. “City legislators have no role in that process.”

That is unlikely to deter the council members, however.

“This is a public safety hazard, this is a matter of commerce, and this is also a matter of closure for the families that still have their loved ones inside that building. And this needs to come to a resolution and this building needs to come down like yesterday,” Councilman Jared Brossett said.

LaToya would have you know she isn’t just in Washington to get drunk at the bar at the Washington Hilton. She’s also there to attend a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which, hilariously enough is apparently about to name her as chair of its infrastructure committee.

Which is an indication that maybe New Orleans-style gallows humor is spreading more quickly than the stench of decomposition in New Orleans’ downtown.

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