NEW ORLEANS — Since 2007 Saint Anna’s Episcopal Church, in the Treme community of New Orleans, has drawn attention to New Orleans’ murder problem. The Very Reverend William Terry displays the names of those murdered in the city out in the open for the world to see and has been doing so since 2007.
“it was in 2007 there had been a large number of murders. We had just done a major march on city hall and nothing seemed to be really changing,” said Reverend Terry. “Every year we put up a new outside board and we have to handwrite them because a printer can’t keep up.”
The ongoing project is a crusade with a sharp message– in one of the most violent cities in the world. Reverend Terry wonders why more churches do not get involved. However, Reverend Terry has found that there simply isn’t a space big enough to display a ravenous list of names. He has the idea to replace putting the names outside on a wall in favor of displaying them inside in the future, in a way that could mimic Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. He wants to engrave the names on gold stars and affix them up on the rafters inside of the church’s sanctuary.
Reverend Terry says murder is everybody’s problem.
“The fact of the matter is where there is poverty there is crime. Who is getting killed are poor black men. There is this sense that they are disposable,” said Reverend Terry.
New Orleans has the third highest murder rate per capita in the country.
Reverend William Terry says he will continue until the murders stop.