When state officials in 2006 booked Dr. Anna Pou with murder, saying she euthanized some of the sickest patients in an overwhelmed, flooded hospital where 34 patients died, Louisianans mostly rallied to Pou’s cause.
A grand jury rejected charges and Attorney General Charles Foti, who had ordered the doctor arrested, was bounced out of office.
When Salvador and Mabel Mangano were tried in the drownings of 35 people at their St. Bernard Parish nursing home it took a jury only four hours to acquit them.
So how will New Orleanians react to the intensive federal investigation into the actions of some New Orleans police officers after the storm?
Grand jurors have been meeting for months in the federal building on Poydras Street, asking questions and seeking answers about what happened in the dark days after the storm.
Among the mysteries they’re trying to unravel: Did New Orleans police officers fatally shoot 31-year-old Henry Glover? Did other officers incinerate a car with his body inside and leave it on an Algiers levee? If so, why? And what, exactly, happened on the Danziger Bridge, where two men were killed by police?
The facts, when they come out, are likely to be weighed — at least by New Orleanians — against the end-of-days world in which the alleged misdeeds took place.
At the heart of the matter are deceptively simple questions: Should the choices people make during a catastrophe be held to a different standard than those they make under more ideal circumstances? And if so, how drastically should the rules be bent?