I remember the first time I met Herman Beasley. It was at a community event at Xavier. There were very few people, in fact the meeting was held in a second floor boardroom. At the time the distrust was acute, people were still shell shocked and struggling to come home. We were being thrust into a planning process that was met with suspicion, fear and annoyance. And there was Beasley, working the room like a U.N. ambassador. You could not help but be charmed.

Over the next 3 plus years he has been a staple of our neighborhood meetings and in many ways the center. His charm was just a small part of who he was; it was just the first layer, but underneath there was a man brimming with pride for his family, for his wife who posses great talent and has turned the inside of their modest home into a work of art with her painting.

He was also a man who brought on the proper amount of rage, after the murder of a crack dealer in the house next door in early 2007 Mr. Beasley expressed his frustration and anger and sadness. When a tornado ripped through the neighborhood he took in his elderly next door neighbor in the immediate aftermath. His concern was obvious. His compassion real and his leadership unmistakable.

He was the most important person to many and this photo of him with his “World’s Best Grandpa” sweatshirt proves to me that he was the most important person at home, where it really counts. We have great leadership in this City in the person of Herman Beasley. That is what we all know. When our elected officials let us down it is most important to remember Herman Beasley, the man who makes living here worth it.

He passed away at home with his wife by his side, and I am sure a platoon of love was surrounding him.

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...