fieldsofgarlic (fieldsofgarlic) wrote,

Darker World

I got some awful, awful news today. Last night, Helen Hill was murdered in her home. Her husband, Paul Gailiunas, was shot, but will recover. Their son, Francis Pop, was physically unharmed, though I imagine he will carry the scar of this with him for the rest of his life.

The first Times-Picayune account reads:

In the sixth murder New Orleans murder in less than a day, a woman was killed and her husband shot in their home this morning at about 5:30 a.m., said New Orleans police, who found the bleeding husband kneeling at the door of the couple's home, holding their two-year-old son in his arms.

The toddler was not hurt; the husband, 35, underwent surgery at Elmwood/Charity Trauma Center, police said, where his son was also taken for examination. The woman, 36, was pronounced dead at the scene.


-- At 5:30 a.m. Thursday, police were called to the Rampart Street killing. Neighbors of the couple later identified them as Helen Hill and Paul Gailiunas, a married couple who first came to the city more than a decade ago, and just moved back in August after a post-Katrina exile in South Carolina. The neighbors said Gailiunas was a doctor and Hill a freelance animator and filmmaker.

I met Paul and Helen a little over three years ago, at Honey's 80th birthday party. I have rarely seen two people so perfectly suited to each other. They always smiled and were so amazingly upbeat, all the time. Like everyone who knew them, I'm sure, I loved being around them.

I'd heard of Helen before I met her. She was an animator and would occasionally hold workshops to empower people in her art. I almost attended one, but then didn't for some reason.

Since they moved back to New Orleans, I've enjoyed seeing them at our monthly vegan potlucks. Here they are from our October get-together.

Paul, Francis and Helen at the October vegan potluck

Helen was, like Paul is, a very bright, warm light. Even with the sun still hanging in the sky today, it's a noticeably darker world without her in it.

I am deeply saddened by Helen's death and the violence done to their sweet family. Even sadder is the fact that this incident is not isolated. So many families are hurting in this city in exactly the same way. The violence here is deeply troubling to me. We simply must find a way to stop it.

Helen, I will miss you very much. Paul and Francis, you are both in my heart and thoughts.

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