Grace Athas photo

I originally wrote this as an e mail to a few friends of “Marshall Truehill’s”:http://www.tributes.com/obituary/show/Marshall-Truehill/84866036

At a time when so many leaders have forgotten how to lead, and people bemoan the lack of leadership I would suggest that we have had among us many great leaders.

Marshall was one of them.

To me a great leader is someone who does not stand above the community but “with the community”:http://www.justiceforneworleans.org/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=32&MMN_position=29:29, this does not diminish his or her stature but allows others to gain the knowledge and experience to create consensus and flourish and widen the circle, and for those who may not fully understand an issue to become better informed, not just accede power to those who claim to know better. The mark of a true leader is the leadership he or she inspires.

Discord is part of the process of growth and should be expected not rejected. But in order to have the kind of healthy discord we need our elected officials “must first *hear* us”:http://blog.nola.com/times-picayune/2007/12/no_housing_rally_disrupts_city.html. And that struggle seems to be ongoing. I will never forget Marshall speaking in council chambers and warning of the upcoming “influx of homeless”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/us/27orleans.html?pagewanted=print New Orleanians who had nowhere to go, his prediction was there for all to see in Duncan Plaza and the I10 underpass.

At least once a week my work takes me by Peete, Lafitte and Cooper. Last week I watched a young mother struggle with her baby carriage in front of the remains of Cooper. The demolition debris left behind forced her into the street, the sidewalk impassable. No one should stand for this.

I will miss Marshall for many of his qualities, his loyalty to the City, his loyalty to the struggle of New Orleanians still struggling for a place in this new New Orleans and his *iron fist in a velvet glove*.

“To donate”:http://www.fubcno.org/tp42/page.asp?ID=156639 in his honor.

Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led...