BREAKING: Team AROD is reporting Judge Walter has dismissed his indictment. Slabbed has the story straight from St Charles Avenue.

Slabbed file photo. Ashton O'Dwyer and his weapon of mass destruction

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.   

While the old children’s saying is not completely true, it takes a wise person to understand why people lash out, especially in circumstances such as those in the case of our own Ashton O’Dwyer, whom I finally had the pleasure of meeting in person last week.   

Ashton, in many so ways, is a tragic figure woven into the fabric of our post Katrina world. Like Robert Davis, Ashton will probably never see justice done in his post Katrina abduction at the hands of the NOPD where he was incarcerated and  repeatedly shot point-blank with beanbag rounds from a 12 gauge shotgun.   

We take all comers here at Slabbed regardless of race, color or creed as our justice system is supposedly similarly blind to such things. And in taking on Ashton we were able to discuss on Slabbed the why behind the outbursts as he and others, such as own brother Editilla, have freely spoken of their post Katrina struggles with depression caused by having their world’s turned upside down. In Ashton’s case both we at Slabbed and evidently the FBI both agree he suffers from a special kind of depression, bipolar disorder, which Ashton steadfastly refused to blame for his predicament despite acknowledging his struggles with it. Depression is a subject for which I and most everyone impacted by the storm received a crash course PHD in from the University of Katrina.

The recently concluded 1st season of the HBO series Treme dealt with the subject head on in the suicide death of fictional Tulane University professor Creighton Burnette. It manifested itself in tiny Waveland, which is known as Katrina ground zero in Mississippi, when a man who had lived a peaceful life pre storm snapped and began shooting up his neighborhood before turning his gun on himself. Our own Steve sometimes refers to 2006-2007 as a lost year as he sunk to the depths of despair after losing so much in Katrina and then his dad, a well respected coast lawyer the next spring. Everyone here dealt with it in one way shape or form from former Times Picayune columnist Chris Rose, who wrote a moving piece about his battle with severe depression to bloggers such as the woman behind the Bayoucreole Blog (h/t Editilla) who very recently wrote of her own post Katrina struggles with depression.  

Slabbed file photo. The O'Dwyer sea flag and a painting of the old house in Waveland

Accompanied by Steve, I visited Ashton last week at his St Charles Avenue home.  We spent over 3 hours talking and reminiscing about life on the pre Katrina beachfront in Waveland where the O’Dwyer family maintained a summer residence when Ashton was a kid before Hurricane Camille. We looked at old pictures of Ashton’s dad on the pier and Steve immediately determined we needed to hook him up with the historical society in Bay St Louis which lost some of their archival materials to Katrina. It was fun listening to Steve and Ashton speak of the origins of some of the grand older mansions which used to dot Bay-Waveland’s beachfront including a house which belonged to Andrew Higgins, a man who will live forever in US military history as the developer of the Higgins boats.  Ashton explained to Steve the namesake of the street he now lives on in Bay St Louis. The history lesson was a real treat. 

We also spoke of the problems he’s had since Katrina and he choked up when he spoke of losing his house to bankruptcy, the very thing he stayed behind to protect that began the post Katrina chapter of his life.  He spoke lovingly of his ex-wife Kitty whom he says will come back to him once he is able to begin making money again so he can provide for her.  His lovely daughter Kathleen was also there. Kathleen has been looking after her dad since he was confined to the place due to the house arrest conditions imposed on him by the indictment. 

We got a hoot out his Father’s day gift from his daughters, a framed picture of him seated in his driveway with a shotgun post Katrina. We gathered around that same table last week to talk.  It was questioning by reporters that lead to news stories such this one that made Ashton angry. Since he previously had the reputation as a crazy cracker, he can be intimidating, as the reporter admitted after he ambush interviewed him.  I’ve been around too many New Orleanians in my life to see that act and be fooled by it. He told us only one reporter saw through it after the storm.

There is another side to Ashton that people do not see as he is the guy who filed suit on behalf of the prisoners in Parish prison, all of whom went through sheer hell after the storm due to poor decision making by the criminal sheriff. That suit ultimately was kicked from the system, a victim of the system protecting itself. Such phenomena is familiar to us here at Slabbed. 

I doubt this latest bit of vindication will bring  any sort of closure to Ashton and where life’s road leads him (besides to Bay-Waveland as mine and Steve’s guest for a day) remains unclear. For our part we’ve happy justice has prevailed as we hope Ashton finds the post Katrina peace which thus far has alluded him.

Congratulations to Team O’Dwyer, especially the federal public defenders office, as Ashton is once again a free man.

sop

10 thoughts on “BREAKING: Team AROD is reporting Judge Walter has dismissed his indictment. Slabbed has the story straight from St Charles Avenue.”

  1. I write with tears on my keyboard – those of joy for Ashton mingled with those from the touching post written by Sop!

  2. Sop

    The one thing I must say…agree or disagree…You are fair and given a chance you will share both sides…that is something that not all blog do

  3. We the people, one Nation under God, and government of the people by the people seem to be almost lost.

    Currently those in “power” seem to think the people are mice in a maze and can be led anywhere for that piece of cheese. The King of England thought that through oppression and taxes he could hold the people in the palm of his hand. The people proved him wrong!

    Well my dear fellow mice we may want to rethink what is happening now and either overthrow the present system by voting them out or use the other alternative.

    While they hold the citizens down and take their freedoms, tax them all they can, invoke decrees that are in direct opposition to the Constitution and the rights of their office as spelled out there. They deem themselves above the law and set standards for us & them. If we do not take back our rights we will just continue to loose more.

    Congressmen/women should be willing to do that job for one term and not accept any pay for that work except what the people they represent want them to have. After that go home and let someone else do the job.

    We have long standing wasteful spending on things not needed and do not funds things that the people need. We have government agencies with responsibilities to protect the citizens and laws & regulations to follow. However, they seem to ignore these sound principles and when a big screw-up follows they call it lessons learned. Last time I had lessons learned it was in all levels of school including engineering.

    After that it was work, produce and follow sound engineering policy, regulations and manuals that were within the law. The Federal Government representatives are not doing this and we have environmental problems of mass destruction and though they caused the situation they are not held accountible and there are no repercusions.

    In private industry, they may be fired, placed before an ethics board, loose their right to practice, and if malfeasence is found een jail time. Why are we protecting civilian employees against the same thing just because they work for the government which is supposed to be us! WE THE PEOPLE!

    MMS & the Corps both need a house cleaning for not complying with law and regulations!!

    This is what beats Ashton and others to the ground!! Help to raie them up and protest the lack of accountibility for these acts.

  4. Of course, very nice post. Our goal has always been to bring everyone back after Katrina- to a place where they feel at home.

    My prayer, if it is one, for Ashton is to mend the fences within his own family which Katrina has knocked down. The battle to retain ones family while the world is falling apart all around you is real. The devil takes advantage of such times to prey upon our faults and exploit them for his own devises. I have found the stuggle post-Katrina to be one of biblical proportions; requiring a parrell biblical solution.

    I hope Ashton can find the path to family resolution which surely God hopes for Ashton. Now is the time to reach out to those whom are worthy of our efforts is my point. Katrina can’t destroy anything if we turn to God for direction. These hurricanes do not destroy our culture, they help make and form our culture. Not everyone are blessed with such things as family and community in proportion as we are in the New Orleans area. It’s a gift from God we should cherish and work to maintain.

    Nice to meet you Ashton.

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