Marigny Murder Rumor Mill
Written by Tara Jill Ciccarone
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 10:55
That privilege is no longer an option for anyone, because on June 11, 2007, Robin Malta was found beaten to death in his apartment at 634 Port Street.
On June 12, I broke a pact with myself and went to the corner of St. Roch and Royal, not because I wanted to talk about Robin, but because I knew Shawn Curry, the man who was taken in for questioning. I went to St. Roch and Royal for the exact reason I had been avoiding it: the rumor mill. The Marigny was a dark place that night; few people lingered after a neighborhood meeting at Mimi’s. The atmosphere on the street was split between a quiet mourning and a frantic discussion of Shawn Curry.
For the past two months, Curry hung out in that area of the Faubourg Marigny, stumbling from Big Daddy’s to Schiro’s to Mimi’s, to various apartments, and down Port Street to where he was staying with Robin Malta. The first time I actually met him, he was sitting outside a friend’s apartment drunk on beer before noon. He asked me to take him to Jazz Fest with me, but he was already sloppy drunk, and I’d had enough of contractors that weekend, especially contractors who gave me the creeps. He struck me as the kind of man who’d grab my ass on a first date.
On Friday, May 18, I was hanging out outside of a neighborhood bar waiting for my then contractor boyfriend to appear when Curry arrived, waiting for a client to pay him. Along with some other contractors, Curry had been remodeling a house on Elysian Fields. Things got ugly that evening when the client refused to pay him more than 300 dollars. Curry, drunk on Jagermeister, grew belligerent and threw his money around on the street. He tried to start a confrontation with a pedestrian but was dissuaded. He threatened the client. He kept bragging that he was going to get a bunch of drugs and go to Lafitte, but it was obvious that the vehicleless Curry was going nowhere.
He was quickly 86ed from the neighborhood bars when he skipped out on his tabs. He began wandering around begging for money and claiming he was going away to rehab.
This is where my firsthand experience stops and the rumor mill begins. I never know what to believe from this group of people, but tonight, the usual suspects, people who knew Curry, were talking up a storm about what they had seen on the news. This was a mix of those who were seriously concerned about bringing the killer to justice and those who were gossiping for the sake of gossip and believed their own exaggerations. Few really know if Curry actually went to rehab, but everyone had a definite answer about the issue.
A young woman showed up and claimed he had confessed. I watched 3 people leave believing that was true. She confided in me that she was positive he was guilty because the energy he gave off after he’d been beaten was terrifying. The last time she’d seen Malta, he’d kicked Curry out and changed the locks. “I’m leaving,” she told me. “There’s too much death.”
Another informant believed absolutely that he was capable of murder. “He’s a crackhead,” she told me. “And he constantly hit on women he knew had boyfriends.”
A young man chimed in that he didn’t know anything about the murder, but that he wasn’t afraid to live in the Marigny even though he’d lost his wallet the night before.
Some acquaintances of Curry’s were positive that he had not done it. According to this couple, Curry owed drug dealers money on May 18, and after being beaten up, he feared for his life. The couple claimed that he was innocent and still in rehab.
“He’s been taken in for questioning,” I informed her.
“Who told you?” the woman asked me. “You can’t believe anything in this neighborhood.”
She was positive the killer is still on the loose, and she is afraid to live in this neighborhood.
A contractor emerged from a bar and told me that Curry had hit Malta with a hammer.
“Where did you hear the word hammer?” I asked.
“Them,” he said, and pointed to the first two women as they got in a car and sped off. He is not afraid to live in the Marigny, but fears for his life at work in Mid-City, where he was held up at gunpoint by a 13 year-old earlier in the day.
An important thing to remember is that unlike many contractors, Curry is from here. A local barfly teetered into a detective’s car to go make a statement about him. She too is from here and has admitted to sleeping with Curry, but not with my contractor ex-boyfriend.
In Mardi Gras Zone, a market on the corner of Port and Royal, the clerk directed me to box where one can place donations to Crime Stoppers. Mardi Gras Zone itself is making a substantial donation. She explained that when the police arrived on June 11, she heard that the burners on the stove were on, the widows shut, and the AC off, as if the killer had hoped to make the body decompose more quickly, maybe to buy himself an alibi. Malta’s steps are adorned with votive candles, kind words, and signs promising to bring his killer to justice.
That people really cared about Robin Malta is obvious in a neighborhood that needs more people like him who did charity work and was an activist in the gay community.
“He never really went to rehab,” a stranger chimes in about Curry as I walk to my car. It’s unfortunate that the rumor mill is spinning so rapidly that if Curry is found innocent, it will be hard to convince some of the locals.
As usual on St. Roch and Royal, there is no proof, no absolute truth. My contractor ex-boyfriend reminds me of this as he approaches me, screaming, “I did not sleep with that woman!” In that issue, the truth no longer matters. In the case of Robin Malta’s murder, it does.
There is a march tonight at 9 p.m. that begins at the corner of Clouet and Royal and will pass Malta’s home, ending at Salon D’Malta.
|< Prev||Next >|