IT'S CALLED A DUEL



 OVERSHARE ON FB 
* make us famous


Trigger happy shooters of town:  if you’re going to  continue trading bullets with your cohort, why don’t you learn from history and coordinate a time and place to do it?

It’s called a duel, and some of the “leading men” of previous eras resorted to it to settle their disputes.

Politicians and newspapermen were especially prone to gunfighting in the late 1800s. Street duels involving editors, reporters, and politicians were not infrequent.

Dominick C. O’Malley was an Irishman who made a name for himself as a private detective in town and later became owner of the Item. He survived an astounding number of fist-, knife-, and gun-fights, against an impressive array of foes. His opponents included editors of the Times-Democrat and the Picayune; a builder whose integrity he’d insulted; a man who lost ten cents to O’Malley in a game of ten-pins; and a former judge who was under attack in O’Malley’s paper.

O’Malley also narrowly avoided being lynched in 1891 by a crowd enraged by the murder of police chief David Hennessy. O’Malley never managed to kill an opponent, and when he died a non-violent death in 1920, he carried the scars of 14 bullet wounds to his grave.

Even physicians were not immune to the bloodlust of the duel. In 1851, Dr. Thomas Hunt, a founder of the Medical College of New Orleans (fore-runner of the Tulane Medical School) fatally shot J.W. Frost, an editor of the Crescent, over a political fracas concerning the Whig party.

Dr. Charles Luzenberg, another local physician of renown, allegedly practiced his marksmanship for an anticipated duel with a fellow doctor by shooting at the suspended cadavers of patients who died under his care. Luzenberg never denied the charge, but the duel never materialized.

Dr. John Foster, house surgeon at Charity Hospital, and Dr. Samuel Choppin, another Charity surgeon, flagrantly violated the Hippocratic Oath to “Do No Harm” in 1856. The dispute arose over which of the men had the right to treat a medical student shot by a law student at a Carnival ball.

After a fistfight at the bedside of the mortally wounded student, the two doctors agreed to meet in the yard of the hospital, where they both fired shotguns at each other. Neither was wounded in the exchange, and the rivalry cooled off - for a while.

Three years later, in 1859, the physicians found themselves again at odds. This time, the guns were fired at the gates of Charity Hospital. Dr. Foster escaped without a scratch, but Choppin was hit in the neck and hip, as well as inadvertently shooting himself in the hand with one of the two derringer pistols he pulled from his coat pockets. Despite the wounds, Choppin survived, declining to press charges against Foster.

The two dueled no more.

Doctors working now in the hospitals of New Orleans treat mostly the bullet-riddled bystanders caught in the wrong place at the wrong time when young men open fire. It’s rare that the perpetrators of street chaos are caught in their own fusillades; far more often, it’s relatives, friends, or just people passing down the sidewalk.

Do it right, Orleanians with beef and ready access to weaponry! Pre-arrange a time and place to settle your personal scores. Name your second, and have a doctor ready. We promise not to call the cops.