Hot Young Blades
In New Orleans, there’s an enormous old tree near City Park draped in Spanish moss with thick boughs that scrape the ground. A faded plaque says that “hot young blades” once fought duels here. “Gentlemen settled their differences with swords and pistols,” says the plaque, and “this was the field of satisfaction for wounded pride and dishonor.” An elderly couple snapped pictures of each other in front of the oak. “I’m a history buff,” the husband said, and he eagerly told me about the famous men who died here back when people slapped one another in the face with gloves and murdered each other beneath oak trees.  
Several hot young blades died the other night in New Orleans. 72 dead so far this year, mostly young men settling disputes with pistols. An altercation in front of a fast food restaurant. Two bodies and drug paraphernalia found in a stripped sports utility vehicle in a deserted parking lot. Satisfaction for wounded pride and dishonor.