I didn’t know Helen Hill, who died about a year ago (holy shit, I just saw that it was exactly a year ago), apparently at the hand of a deranged intruder. Her case was one that, along with Dinerral Shavers, galvanized much of the New Orleans community against crime. Like many, I haven’t felt as much remorse about the thug-on-thug violence around me, but Helen’s and Dickie’s deaths have made us all feel more vulnerable, and angry.
From what other people have said, I always thought Helen Hill and I could have been friends, if I could be so lucky, and that’s one of the things that haunts me about her death. She seems like a truly great person, the kind who deserves to be alive, and whom we deserve to be around today.
But she’s not. And I’ve just been tearing up at viewing of Helen Hill: Celebrating a Life on Film on PBS. I don’t purport to be an artist, but goddammit, her work has real charisma. I’ve never understood why certain filmmakers have hit me, but her works have. Yeah, I should have seen them before, but I didn’t. She was a true artist, and even an idiot like me can see that. Shit, why does this happen? Maybe so that assholes like me will finally see and appreciate what people like Helen have to offer.
Helen, I’m sorry I didn’t meet you when you were alive, but I’m grateful to know you now. You continue to be great. We (even those who never met you) miss you.