NOLAmotion Blog

January 8, 2009

Cayne Miceli R.I.P.

Cayne Miceli June 2008

Cayne Miceli June 2008

UPDATED 1/10/09: Note: When I originally wrote this, many facts were unclear. Now that more information is available, I have re-written parts of this piece to reflect more accurately the chain of events and overarching realities that have come to light. This being a blog and not a printed publication, it is a living document and one that can be improved and edited to improve its veracity. I hope that’s what I’m doing. Regardless, I cannot possibly capture all the truths at work here. Suffice to say, Cayne turned to the system for help and it killed her.

Update: Jan 13, 2009-Shoeless Eric was with the family at Cayne’s bedside when the decision was made to remove her from life support. He’s created a moderated group site where you can find more information about what happened and what is going to happen: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/caynemiceli

Here is Cayne’s MySpace page, updated on the day she sought medical treatment.

Update Jan 14, 2009: Karen Dalton-Beninato’s blog on Huffington Post today is about Cayne. It’s a beautiful piece and features a piece Cayne wrote.

The lack of psychiatric beds, health care resources and basic human rights in New Orleans produced yet another tragedy. After being treated at Tulane Medical Center with a powerful steroid, prednisone, for her severe asthma, my friend Cayne Miceli believed she was having an adverse reaction to the drug. She sought to be re-examined and/or admitted and was turned away because the hospital felt it had done its job, and because she had no insurance. Unable to contain her frustration, her emotional state aggravated by the steroids, she flew into a rage and was taken away to jail. She allegedly attempted suicide and was put into 5 point restraints, aggravating both her mental state and her ability to breathe. She reacted badly to the restraints and was further subdued by two jail personnel. Subsequently, she “became unresponsive.” Jail staff intubated and “revived” her so that her “actual” death occurred at University Hospital with the decision of her family to remove her from life support. The facts are still unclear and may not be clarified for a while. But one thing is clear: the system failed her.

Cayne was a vivacious but troubled soul. She had a magical quality that connected her deeply to New Orleans. She was a survivor like the rest of us. She was full of life.

Cayne wasn’t afraid to reach out when she needed support. When she sought medical assistance for her asthma, it wasn’t done lightly. She has lived with asthma for many years. Cayne knew she needed help and did the best she could to get it. In Post-Katrina New Orleans, she found no room for her illnesses.

New Orleans without Charity Hospital is a city without compassion. That we continue to have too few psychiatric beds is unacceptable. That we continue to be haggling over the rebuilding of our health care infrastructure is abominable.

New Orleans is a city filled with Cayne Miceli’s, uncounted troubled and traumatized souls who keep things together most of the time. But when their lungs, hearts and minds can take no more, New Orleans provides no shelter, no bosom into which to retreat because Charity Hospital has not been rebuilt.

I now officially join the voices of those opposed to the tearing down of houses to build a new, fantasy hospital. Charity sits unused and ready to be restored while victims, the detainees–die lonely deaths in jail, our default system for handling the mentally troubled.

The people who seek to extend this process because they refuse to fix Charity Hospital have blood on their hands. I will remind them. Then again, maybe we all have blood on our hands these days.

Save Mid City/Save Charity Hospital

Note: Jan 10, 2009: It’s clearer to me now that health and justice systems are in a dance of death lottery that can start when you say “I need help!” or merely, “I can’t breathe!”

It’s also clear to me that if someone at Tulane had said, “OK, we’ll examine you again,” instead of “call the police,” Cayne would probably still be with us.

Now that we know more about Cayne’s horrible experiences and death, the lack of beds is only part of this problem.

In Post-Katrina New Orleans, we live with layers and layers and layers of problems, of missed opportunities, of disorganization and incompetence that infect the system from within our “rebuilt” homes to the halls of power in Washington DC. I pray we see that improve in 2009.

I also learned that I have a dear friend whose brother suffered gross mistreatment in a local jail. That this isn’t the first asthmatic to die in a local jail. That the last person to die on that torturous medieval restraint system died a medieval torture death: dehydration.

It’s bad enough my country justified torture. Now I know that my community tortures, too.

5 Point Restraint System

5 Point Restraint System

And I’ve learned that best estimates put those shining new hospitals opening in 2016.

At the current rate of death and disablement happening in area jails, I’m probably going to personally know several more victims before the next seven years pass.

Our jails and prisons are maiming and killing too many people who often haven’t even been arraigned. And now our hospitals can’t recognize the symptoms of the drugs they administer and dump their patients on the police? Suffice to say I find this unacceptable/abusive/you fill-in-the-blank.

We’re losing basic human rights. I hope we’re waking up.

As Cayne so often said when she reached a stopping point in the conversation: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Peace & Love! Peace & Love!”

<Sigh>.

Magical Cayne Miceli (photo enhanced by Jeremy Machalek of WhyArts.com)

Magical Cayne Miceli (photo enhanced by Jeremy Machalek of WhyArts.com)

86 Comments »

  1. Thank you for this post. It cleared up a few things for me. Cayne and I were close friends for many years when she lived in Pensacola. Her ex-husband just called me tonight with the sad news, and I found your blog article. The last time we really hung out together was at the Phish shows up in New Jersey, in July of 2000 I think. She was such a joy to be with. I am very sad to have lost such a dear friend. This should not have been.

    Comment by Karl Burger — January 8, 2009 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  2. This just breaks my heart. I am so sorry for the loss.
    Please send this as a letter to the editor to all the newspapers. It is important that Cayne’s story be heard – and that things change before other needless tragedies occur.

    Comment by Samantha — January 8, 2009 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  3. I and everyone else who loved Cayne are absolutely devastated… As troubled as she had been in recent times, things were beginning to look up for her. In spite of any sorrow in her own life she was always there for me. This is a travesty. I agree with Samantha; I too am heartbroken. Charity Hospital? What a terrible name for such a place! What a terrible police dept! What a terrible jail!Her family needs answers. A Bright Star has gone out over the Crescent City. Without her smile and infectious laughter, the world is a dimmer place today. I will love her forever and I will miss her for the rest of my life.

    Comment by Llisa Jones — January 8, 2009 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  4. I, too, am furious with all involved in extinguishing this candle, and feel such a deep sadness for all of our loss. Cayne has been a treasured and special friend, and, I agree with Llisa that she always had an “I love you” and appreciative words for those in her life, even when (maybe especially when) struggling herself. I knew Cayne from Pensacola, and she and I began our journeys elsewhere at exactly the same time. She ventured off to New Orleans, and I came to the Bay Area in California, in February 2000. We had one last cocktail together and shared some smiles and our hopes for the future the day before we both left. She sought refuge here after Katrina, and, after trying to make a go of it in both Oakland and Ojai, made a personal decision that she needed New Orleans and New Orleans needed her. Her return was based on the fact that New Orleans would never be rebuilt without all of the beautiful and amazing people that make up the city, and her place there was indeed significant. I don’t have the words to describe the irony and pain that come with the knowledge that the city that she loved so dearly contributed to her death. All of our broken hearts are one.

    Comment by Stacey Parks — January 8, 2009 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

  5. I found this post through a link on a dear friend’s profile page. I do not know Cayne, have never heard her name before just now, have never lived in nor even been to New Orleans, and yet, I cannot hold back my tears at this moment. How dreadful! She is no doubt a very strong and sensitive spirit, for I immediately feel connected to her as if I have known her my whole life.

    And maybe I have known – still know – dozens of souls like her. I am dealing with a similarly frustrating battle with bureaucracy here in Virginia Beach. The details are not nearly as important as the composite whole, which is simply this: we must spread the light of love so intrusively across the endless fields of complacency so that the angels themselves will rejoice in our victory on earth.

    It is true, sometimes, that the squeaky wheel gets the oil; however, it is the calm that disrupts the mightiest of storms. I have learned to delicately whisper about the injustices of this cold trend toward all-consuming, narcissistic, greed that our culture seems to embrace. Not because I am ashamed to express my opinions or because I am concerned about reactions. I whisper so that I can bring them in closer to truly hear what I am saying. I whisper because it is unexpected and disarming. I whisper because my breath is louder than their blaring egos.

    And if we all whisper together, we will fill the air with our timely demands. And Cayne’s voice will be heard through our symphony of lovespeak, and she will speak through our hearts – even as she does now through mine despite never having known her or seen her or heard her laughter. I feel the despair of her struggle and I find it inexcusable that her voice was not acknowledged. I have no idea how I can help from here, but I will listen quietly for direction.

    I am thankful to have been impacted so deeply at this moment by your dear friend, Cayne. I send my love and healing light to all who ache from her untimely death.

    Comment by Lea Marie Ponessa — January 9, 2009 @ 1:16 am | Reply

  6. This is just terrible. Nolamotion, please contact me at wking@tulane.edu, and tell me more about who you are, and how the Reopen Charity Hospital Committee can help you. It’s awful that Cayne Miceli died, because the state refuses to repair and reopen Charity Hospital, and refuses to accept the FEMA amount stated for Charity’s damages.

    Comment by Wendy King — January 9, 2009 @ 9:24 am | Reply

  7. Thank you all for your comments. Your eloquence moves me and truly honors Cayne’s spirit and life.

    Cayne was very a special person in so many ways, both good and not so good. She had a powerful energy, expressed her love of life and of people openly, and was a source of unforgettable statements. I will go to my grave turning down offers to meet people at bars that don’t have live music by quoting Cayne: “When I go to a bar and there’s no live music, I’m just an aging barfly.”

    All who knew her experienced an indescribable force that never failed to spark smiles, laughter and appreciation for life. I will miss her boldness, her wry and wise sense of humor, her infectious smile and her laugh.

    Comment by nolamotion — January 9, 2009 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  8. Her death is troublesome on many levels. One, she was young and tryingto pull through a low spot in her life. Two, the system(medical/prison) failed us once again. Three, by merely living in New Orleans, we’re all time bombs of emotion and anxiety. I believe that some of us are more (or less) equipped to defuse this stress. The problem is we’re constantly being given more reasons to hold onto that anxiety.

    And finally, the level of substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) has become so problematic, yet so wide spread that we have trouble measuring what a safe level (as if…) of “partying” is.

    Maybe I’m speaking merely for myself here, but I think Cayne’s tragic, unnecessary death is a reminder of how fragile we are in a world that has yet to embrace some basic tenets like “love thy neighbor” and helping those in need, maybe even turning the other fucking cheek occasionally. It wouldn’t hurt to consider how important our lives really are and seeing those around us people who love, who hurt, who yearn and who one day will not be with us anymore.

    I don’t want this to sound preachy, but it’s just how I feel. I’m choked up because I sick and tired of seeing people die, be they a friend mishandled by the prison/medical system or a young man who I never met who is disenfranchised and caught up in the tangles of poverty, anger and hopelessness. It’s all connected. We’re all connected.

    Comment by George Ingmire — January 9, 2009 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  9. Cayne was amazing her smile laugh. I have not seen her in some years but the time I had with her was great. I am sick over this. She was a true frind. There can be no replacement for her. I dont know what to say, but we will all miss her. Blessed Be Cayne I love you!!

    Comment by little lisa — January 9, 2009 @ 12:30 pm | Reply

  10. i have known and loved Cayne for over 20 years. she was the most amazing person and had that special ability to brighten the world around her. she will be loved, remembered and missed forever.

    Comment by stork — January 9, 2009 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  11. Hello, I am Cayne’s cousin. Our family is seeking details leading up her death. In the event you have not already been in contact with my uncle please email me and allow me to connect you to him. Thank all of you for your kind words. Our family is truly in shock. Kim

    Comment by Kim Kephart — January 9, 2009 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

  12. I was married to Cayne for 5 years, and though we had our problems and went our separate ways I never stopped loving her. She had some strange and chaotic ways but she was a good person, and a very smart and talented person. It upsets me to here the hospital had her arrested when she was still in asthmatic distress. I do not believe for one minuet she committed suicide under those circumstances. I think rather the hospital and police did not care and let her die. If she had wanted to die she could have simply stayed home and let the asthma take her there, she went to the hospital because she wanted to live.

    Comment by Kevin Marchetti — January 9, 2009 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  13. There are no words to describe the devastation and loss that those of us who knew and loved Cayne are experiencing right now. While I appreciate that her story is being told, frankly, this article enrages me and brings up more questions than answers. If she was, in fact, given a prednisone dose, why was she intubated in the jail? Why wasn’t a bronchial dilator administered in the original hospital as is recommended as a first line of response to someone with her condition (in place of a powerful steroid)? What is the name of the hospital who ordered the arrest of a 5 foot three woman in the throes of a fatal asthma attack? And finally, why on earth would a woman seek medical attention as part of a grand plot to commit suicide? I knew Cayne well over a twenty year period and she deserves so much more than the horrible treatment that ultimately led to her tragic, unnecessary, and untimely death. I resent her being characterized as a troubled soul. I, too, live in a pressure cooker of a city (NYC, to be exact). Around here, seeking psychiatric help is about as troubling as a trip to the gym. Getting therapy is like taking vitamins. I knew her as a beautiful, highly intelligent, immensely gifted artist, skilled sailor, graceful dancer, powerful spiritualist, music lover, and a loyal and true friend. If the city that let her die were in fact “filled” with her kind, it would be a beautiful place. Her death proves that it is not. She deserves better. I can only pray that somehow, the truth of what happened to her is told and that some justice is done for her. She deserves a proper jazz funeral with a parade through the French Quarter. She was/is too good for New Orleans. And we will all be for the worse without her.

    Comment by Judy Ann Olsen — January 9, 2009 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  14. Who administered the breathing tube in the jail? What were those person’s qualifications? How long was she incarcerated before being moved to University hospital? Who called for the ambulance? Why would she have even needed a breathing tube if she had been given prednisone at another hospital? Thank you, nolamotion, for getting the converstation started. I am so unbelievable angry and heartbroken over this. WE WANT ANSWERS!!! SHE DESERVES BETTER THAN THIS!!!

    Comment by Judy Ann Olsen — January 9, 2009 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

  15. These testimonials are but the tip of the iceberg of feelings and love so many of us had for Cayne.

    She was indeed all the things all of us perceived her to be and then some. I agree with Judy Ann that she was so much more than I stated in my brief blog. But I wanted to get the basics out, not post a memorial. I wanted to announce her death and start asking questions. I obviously am not alone.

    We will learn the truth, do what we must to somehow address what happened, and, we will honor her with a celebration that reflects her spirit and our love. Many very talented and able people are investigating her death. I will update with information as it becomes available.

    This is all so raw and painful. Cayne was very honest and open about her feelings and state of mind. I was very close to her and only seek to be honest and open as well. I apologize if anything I write here causes anyone grief.

    Comment by nolamotion — January 9, 2009 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

  16. Cayne was my sister and I am overwhelmed, devastated, confused, outraged, exhausted and PISSED OFF!!!!! Cayne did not deserve this and my stomach wrenches everytime I think of how her last minutes must have been. My head is pounding and it has been since Sunday, 2 DAYS before I was contacted. This is truly unbelievable and I feel like I am having a horrible dream.

    I hope with all my heart that anyone who lives in or loves New Orleans will demand answers and justice for my sweet sister. I love her and I miss her and I miss her more.

    I want to thank everyone who loved her. I want to thank everyone who helped her.

    I want to express my eternal gratitude to her friends who stood with us at her bedside and did all the things I didn’t know how to do for her.

    AND I want to thank everyone who is outraged that this could have happened. Thank you in advance.

    Cristy
    (Merry, I forgot to save your number. Please call me.)

    Comment by Cristy Miceli Richmond — January 9, 2009 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  17. I am fortunate to have known, and to have had Cayne as my friend for the last fifteen years, and as everyone who really knew her is aware, it would take many thousands of words to begin to express what a wonderfully complex and special a person she was. She was a tremendously smart and talented person who was living in New Orleans because she wanted to. She had the skills and academic background to live anywhere. I spoke to her for the last time Dec. 22nd.She was just as bright, lucid and articulate as ever. She was happy to have moved in to a new apartment, and described to me how the previous weeks snow had looked from her window .She was planning for the future and said she was determined that her next job would be “green” and somehow have a positive effect on the environment. As her longtime friends and family know, we almost lost her to asthma attacks a couple of times in the past. If she caused a scene at the hospital, it was because she couldn’t breathe. She knew she was in trouble because it had happened before. If she panicked it was for good reason. There is absolutely no way she had any intentions of hurting herself , and someone at the hospital made a very, very bad decision to have her hauled off to jail , instead of admitting her .I agree with Judy, Cayne deserves better than this.We are lessened by her leaving . Go in peace Cayne, we miss you already

    Comment by Jim Holland — January 9, 2009 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  18. Cayne Miceli….God Bless you! I am sad and angry….. confused… determined…. supposedly there should be a video from each jail cell…. I want to see it…. i want to know WHO worked this case…. who were the COPS on the job that day…… TELL ME! We can’t save Cayne but this could be your sister, your brother, your cousin, your mom! It could have happened to any one of us really! This madness has to stop….

    Comment by Kelly — January 9, 2009 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

  19. Cayne was a frequent and welcome member of our little coffeehouse community. Her smile and laughter brightened many a heart and as people here learn of her loss there will be a shared feeling of sadness at Fair Grinds. My hope is that her death, like the senseless death of Helen Hill will remind us daily of our need to demand a better community police and health system. We will sorely miss her, but will never forget her gifts of love and joy which we all received from her.

    Comment by Robert Thompson — January 9, 2009 @ 11:54 pm | Reply

  20. None of the posts, I’ve read, mention that Cayne used to work for the local music television show “Louisiana Jukebox”. She was very much the music fanatic, was both knowledgable & enthusiastic about the music industry & life in general. Cayne was also an activist, who made an extra effort to keep people informed about issues, both in the local New Orleans community, and the world at large; The tragic way she died, in a way, stands as a symbol, for the city that she loved, and the plight of those who are without access; she might be called a soldier for a cause, although I know she would prefer to be called “a Rebel WITH a cause”; Cayne was an extremely intelligent, involved person, who cared about her community & to characterize her as “a troubled soul” is innacurate; She was not one to bellyache, or complain about her own problems – On the contrary, Cayne had a zeal for life & was always one to spread warmth, cheer, and friendship. Those of us who knew her know that, despite her own situation, Cayne wanted to make the world a better place, and New Orleans a better community – SHE was someone who cared, and we are less, without her. Cayne Micelli will be missed, but never forgotten.

    Comment by Andy "Dr. Bone" Galbiati — January 10, 2009 @ 12:29 am | Reply

  21. Very sad to hear this. I liked Cayne.

    Comment by james — January 10, 2009 @ 1:19 am | Reply

  22. Please, please , please if anyone has any information that might help us get to the truth thru this blog or whatever means necessary contact the family. We are in great need of a timeline and details.

    Comment by Kim Kephart — January 10, 2009 @ 7:41 am | Reply

  23. This is shocking and horrifying on so many levels. I’m very happy you’re writing about it. I find it hard to understand how a woman who went to the hospital for help would end up taking her own life — and so many other questions about events that don’t make sense.

    Comment by Cold Spaghetti — January 10, 2009 @ 8:26 am | Reply

  24. Dear Sweat Cayne. I knew you for just a few short years from brief passing in the Easy. I am saddened by the news of your ascent. Untimely, unnecessary and so believable. I know You are at Peace. I send you on your timeless journey with a Smile, a Hug and a remembering of your impact here. For those left here to make sense of your passing, I wish ease, grace & connection. For your family I send my deepest sympathy and Please show them many signs of your Eternal Connection with each of them. As for the business of the way in which you left, the people present and responsible, I know the truth is there. I offer this humbly: find the inmates that saw the event immediately. Attain any video footage from Tulane medical, Central lockup etc… I would interview the fire department, ambulance personnel and anyone present for the numerous suspicious incidents. Then I would follow the path of truth and let it set the record straight. May the pain and anger move the grief to the surface so the forgiveness and the honoring of your soul be most prominent. Blessings to you Dear Soul!

    Comment by James — January 10, 2009 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

  25. I still can’t hold back tears about this….Cayne was one of the most amazing women I have had the pleasure of meeting. We became instant friends. The spontaneous nature and milk way light that exploded out of her is what made her so incredible. People that knew her know exactly what I mean. I am truely sad that we have lost our girl in such a way. Cayne needs prayers more than ever now so that her spirit will move forward in peace, there are enough restless souls here, we must help her in this way.
    As far as the system here, well system smystum….it us people that create these systems… and they have there place, but not for something like this…it is people that failed our dear friend, and the choices made for her policy or not were not right. There is more to this and everyone knows it. I hope and pray that the real truth is discovered, after all does anyone believe that she was trying to hang herself??? Give me a break. May God bless you my beautiful friend and your family….your friend the flower girl.

    Comment by the flower girl — January 10, 2009 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

  26. I’ve known Cayne for several years… was supposed to go to Burning man with me last year… this is a complete shock that this happened to someone so full of life..

    I spent a couple days in OPP last month myself where they refused me medical treatment for a stomach ailment that i had operated on.. Jefferson Parish Jail threatened to throw me in solitary for asking for help where as OPP just ignored my requests.

    Comment by john birdsong — January 10, 2009 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

  27. This whole thing is so sad! I can not believe that Cayne is gone! I hope that her spirit is finding it’s way upwards where all positive energies will be reborn! I will know that laugh and the brightness of her eyes when I meet them! Love and Miss you!
    XOXOOOOXOXXXOXOOXXOXOOXOXOOXOXO

    Comment by sam — January 10, 2009 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  28. there will never be another girl like this….shame on new orleans shame on tulane medical center shame on the answers given… anyone and i mean anyone that met this women knows better……shame on nopd the laughing stock of other law enforcing cities…..shame on the people that turned her away….why why why why why why…..she was so outnumbered once entered IN to lockup…. and any one that has been arrested in this city and suffered a night or two or three or four oh im sorry is your bailed paid to bad…. do you have needs to bad and if your needs bug ANYONE IN A UNIFORM WEARING A BADGE FROM THE PIT HOLE OF A CITY JAIL WHICH I BELIEVE IS THE GATEWAY TO HELL KNOWS BETTER……..GIVE ME A BREAK THE STORY IN THE PAPER IS BULLSHIT…. AND FILLED WTIH LIES…PLEASE. THIS STORY WILL DIE LIKE CAYNE HERSELF IF NO ONE COMES FORWARD… MY MOTHER WORKED AT TULANE SHE COULD NOT BELIEVE THIS STORY…SHE ALSO SAID THAT PEOPLE USE POLICY TO PROTECT THEMSELVES THEIR JOBS ETC…. BUT NEVER HAD SHE HEARD OF SOMEONE BEING HAULED OFF THE FUCKING CENTRAL LOCK UP….DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT IT IS REALLY LIKE IN THERE?????????????????? I BET THE PEOPLE THAT WORK AT TULANE HAVE NO IDEA…ASSHOLES…YOU KILLED MY FRIEND…..SHE CAME FOR HELP YOU FUCKERS….YOU MOTHER FUCKING FUCKERS….YOU KILLED HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by ZAMANTHA — January 10, 2009 @ 9:48 pm | Reply

  29. I met Cayne in 1992? though Judy Ann. She was a sweet little brunette pixie-woman with an edge; I remember her as wearing knee-high moccasin boots and a white coat, standing in our practice room on East 3rd Street in NYC, blowing the guys in the band away with her energy – not flirty energy, just Presence. She had Presence. This is the impression she left to this day. She was such a dear friend to Judy Ann, who would fill me in on Cayne’s doings as the years went by, the way girlfriends do, so it felt like she was part of my life too, albeit in a peripheral way. I, too, am sickened, saddened and angry by the way she was treated and the way she died. (The story of Carol Gottbaum comes to mind.) I am also troubled by the details of her final hours. I can’t stop thinking about it.

    Nolamotion updated his blog to say that Cayne was put in restraints in jail. Please, if you want, go to this page: http://www.healthquadrant.com/asthma-attack-treatment.html. It has information on how to help a person in the throes of an asthma attack. Here is an excerpt:

    “* Remember that when someone is having an attack, they’ll almost always find it easier to breathe while sitting up than lying down. So don’t make the mistake of getting them to lie down — settle them into a sitting position and make them as comfortable as possible.”

    She absolutely should NOT have been put on her back, let alone in restraints!!

    “* As the person taking care of the patient, your demeanor counts. If you panic, it can actually make her attack worse, because she will feel it is out of control and respond accordingly.”

    One could argue that the way she was treated would have caused her severe panic and could ultimately have caused the drug she was given to be ineffective (although a health practitioner should confirm this – anyone?). I do not know how long it takes for prednisone to work, although it does seem to be indicated in emergency situations. But from what I’ve read, inhalers (beta-adrenergic agonists) are recommended as the FIRST thing you give someone: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec04/ch044/ch044a.html. Is Tulane Med not equipped with the right meds and experienced personnel to administer them, let alone ones who know which to administer first? I understand that the health system is stressed in New Orleans, but is Tulane not a university hospital and major medical center? The NIH issues updated treatment guidelines for all therapeutic areas of healthcare every few years. One would expect that emergency care workers–especially in such a major hospital as this–are apprised.

    One other thought keeps whirling around in my head: “First, Do No Harm.”

    I hate even putting these words on the page. We do not need to be reminded of her last hours. But the truth must come out. This must be investigated and we must arm ourselves with information in order to see that justice is done. The system didn’t just fail her; the system committed negligent homicide. The cops did exactly the wrong thing in lock-up, and behaved like brutes and bullies. So did at least one person in the ER. This should be investigated. Cayne, and everyone who loved her, deserves so much better. We need answers. And this only goes away if we let it.

    I wish you all blessings, peace and solace.

    Comment by Debby — January 11, 2009 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  30. Hi, I’m very sorry for your loss, for the loss of this entire city. I never had the pleasure of meeting Cayne, at least, I don’t remember. (Could be buried in some Mardi Gras memory…) I want you to know that a very large and growing number of residents here are fighting for the reopening of Charity Hospital, and fighting to stop the demolition of the lower midcity neighborhood. We’re having a public, speakout meeting on this issue on January 28th, at St. Joseph Church (across from ground zero). We’d like to invite everyone to attend, and anyone interested in restoring our public health system:
    Wednesday January 28 evening public meeting in solidarity with Lower Mid-City at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Rebuild Center, 1803 Tulane Avenue at 6:00pm. Off-street parking is available – enter the Rebuild Center from the lot. Public meeting with speakers to be announced to support “Renew, Restore, Reopen Charity Hospital!” / to support the Lower Mid-City Historic Neighborhood / to oppose the LSU/VA plan to demolish Lower Mid-City / to oppose Mayor and City Council plans to use tax dollars to demolish homes in Lower Mid-City

    Comment by Elizabeth Cook — January 11, 2009 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  31. The treatment that Cayne endured and that resulted in her death is emblematic of the systemic propagation of ongoing distress in New Orleans and that is now spreading throughout the nation, and the very same that has been imposed by U.S. ‘forces’ upon people around the world. Cayne’s life and story is our life and story and represents the lives and stories of many people here and everywhere.
    I agree with Dr. Bone, that to characterize Cayne as a troubled soul does a disservice to Cayne and the lives and efforts of others like her, and all us all who, as George Igmire wrote, are “…sick and tired of seeing people die, be they a friend mishandled by the prison/medical system or a young man who I never met who is disenfranchised and caught up in the tangles of poverty, anger and hopelessness. It’s all connected. We’re all connected.”
    I guess we are all troubled souls then…..troubled and gravely affected personally and collectively as a people by the abuse of a system, not ours but theirs, that has lost all humanity ——- their system, that denies and deprives people of basic care and basic human rights, the rising and concerted abuse of a system that divides and places power and profit and ‘their’ bottom line above human life, one that silences and snuffs out the lives our best and brightest, which Cayne certainly was…..
    The Tulane and the LSU health care systems are too big, too unwieldy, too concerned with their bottom-lines….too concerned with property and profit development and ‘growth’ and too much a part of the police/military/prison/profit industrial complex in an effort to maintain their bottom lines and their overarching decision making powers to be supported anymore by any thinking, feeling citizen.
    Public Health has become an erroneous and misleading term – it has become Profit Health – as Health Care has become Profit Care. Terms that have become contrary to their actual motives. Public Health, Public Service, Healthcare, Justice, Economic Development, Democracy in New Orleans and elsewhere are now just marketing spin and nothing else, devoid of all substance, as the ‘care’ Cayne received that resulted in her death so painfully shows….
    In honor of Cayne and so many others like her that this system has murdered, we need to stand together and stand up against the injustices perpetrated in our name as citizens of New Orleans, because as citizens, as the people of New Orleans we have the power, the knowledge, the understanding – and Cayne’s treatment and ultimate death and those of so many others like her that have provided us with this knowledge and understanding ~ the abilities and the where-with-all, as well as an OBLIGATION, to stand together to make the changes that are necessary so that there will be no more Caynes, no more vigilante killings, no more police, hospital and OPP murders, no more murder through the imposition of poverty through inequality. Those of us who knew Cayne and all of us as people of New Orleans have an obligation to make sure this stops, to seize the power from those who kill before they claim their next victim, to establish networks of care and advocacy that truly do care, to revitalize our unity in Cayne’s name and to stand in her name for change. We do a disservice to Cayne and ourselves if we do not unite to stop this and so many other kinds of abuse that is happening in our community – we have every right to be sad and angry as well, and it is a righteous anger we must embrace and act upon now, not later. To not unite and act together ASAP is only to continue to allow such systematic abuse to continue….

    Comment by Sally — January 11, 2009 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

  32. Our dear sweet angel fairy sister and friend was left alone in her final days. Something that she was terrified about. She was so terrified about having an asthma attack and being alone. She did not want to ever go to jail in her future. She was fragile and delicate. I am just so terribly saddened that my pal, my padner, my possey member, my fun-lovin girl is gone from us forever. I always said that Cayne is one of my pals that I would take on a trip around the world with me. My children love her and she lived with us for a while, for that I am thankful but also so guilty. I knew her very well. I knew what she needed, and I dropped the ball this past Christmas. She spent last Christmas with us and all I had to do was take her under my wing…

    We have been friends for years, but we did not become family until I ran into her at Charity Hospital with my students in the accident room. (I don’t know how many years before Katrina it was) I was strolling through the asthma room in UPRIGHT CHAIRS…YOU NEVER LAY DOWN AN ASHTMATIC>>>NEVER> and recognized her. I came to fetch her at the end of my clinical day and brought her home with me to pamper her back to security and health. From that day, she became my sister. She has spent many a night here and received Christmas presents under my christmas tree on christmas mornining. Like a sweet child. Like a loving child filled with wonder.

    Because of my inactions this past month, Cayne is gone. She was hurt, killed, by those who took oaths to serve her. I regret that I was not there for her and done what was needed…a scoop us and rescue. I am so sorry. i loved her.kim

    Comment by Kim Uddo — January 11, 2009 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  33. Hi, friends and family of Lady Cayne. What should I do if I want to post something with photos? Do I have to start a new blog? I’ve never done this before…. thanks. ~ Sarah

    Comment by Sarah — January 11, 2009 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

  34. I am so angry, pissed off, frustrated, devastated…that I haven’t really spoken much about this, but after reading the article in the paper, I feel there are some details about Cayne’s final hours that need to be told.

    Cayne called me from jail around 5pm on Sunday. She was upset, as you would expect one to be when they’ve been carted off to jail while seeking medical attention. The first thing she said to me was “I’m in jail. I should be in the hospital, but I’m in jail!” She went on to explain her situation. She said her asthma had been acting up for over a week, but that she didn’t want to go to the hospital because she didn’t have insurance and she knew they’d give her prednisone, which she reacts badly to. Her asthma was getting worse, so she finally had her roommate take her to the hospital for treatment where they gave her “a treatment and prednisone.” She said she was still feeling like she needed more treatment yet the hospital released her. She asked not to be released and apparently started to make a scene which is when she was arrested. She mentioned one of her charges was for battery of a police officer, so when i asked her about this, she said she was told she bit the officer. She wasn’t sure about that as she has bad reactions to prednisone, that it makes her crazy. She explained to me that this was a proven side effect of the drug and it was the main reason she didn’t want to head to the hospital from the start.

    She told me she’d had one more treatment (I’m not sure if this treatment included prednisone or not) in jail but that she still felt the asthma issue persisted. I told her I’d do my best to get her out of jail as soon as possible. SO SO sadly, this was the last I’d speak with Cayne.

    The newspaper refers to Cayne as “a troubled soul”. I feel this is inaccurate and misleading. There were other circumstances at play that night. It took me all of 3 minutes online to learn about something called “steroid psychosis”. One article I read mentioned 3-6% of people who took a steroid like prednisone have this side effect. There are all sorts of horrible possibilities with this…anxiety, depression, agitation, emotional issues, schizophrenia…the list goes on. One article mentioned a 6-10h period for the reactions to occur. She would’ve been given prednisone at Tulane somewhere around 1-2pm and the newspaper mentioned she allegedly tried to hang herself at 9:30pm. Do the math. I’m certainly not an M.D.,just a loving friend seeking truth. We don’t know the real story… for sure OPP will be trying to cover their asses. But Cayne was failed at every level, from the hosptital to the jail to the psyche ward.

    There’s so much more to be said, but here i just wanted to get some facts out that seem to have been omitted thusfar.

    Dearest Cayne….rest in peace and love…..i can still hear you laughing….

    Comment by laurie glaser — January 12, 2009 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  35. I am still having a hard time getting over this- it is for sure a wrongful death. Health care in this country sucks- If Cayne had of had good insurance she would be alive today. They would have admitted her treated asthma and then removed her gall bladder for some extra cash.
    And the jail system sucks too, it is the worst place to be if you have health issues. You are way better off in the street. The system is just not inclined to meet the needs of the individual. It seems they will do whatever it takes to make their life easier- like the very very bad move of tying Cayne down when she could not breathe.

    Comment by Kevin Marchetti — January 12, 2009 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  36. The more I learn of how Cayne’s life ended, the more horrified I get. That someone with so much compassion and spirit was brutalized and tortured in such a way. No reassuring voice to calm her. No music playing. No light of day or moon, no family or friends, surrounded by brutes in a cold sickening jail. I can’t stop crying. I contacted CNN and I hope they pick up the story. This should be national news. I hope our sorrowed voices can unite and fill the air so that her story continues to be told and somehow, justice will be done on her behalf.

    Comment by Judy Ann Olsen — January 12, 2009 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  37. Cayne was a good person with a good heart. She was a good friend. It saddens me to know that she is gone and it really sickens me to learn about the barbaric circumstances under which it happened. At this point, all of us who have our wits about us need to keep pushing forward for humane conditions in our communities, including our hospitals and jails. Every action counts!!!

    R.I.P. Cayne. You are loved!!!

    Comment by Brian J — January 12, 2009 @ 6:23 pm | Reply

  38. Blessings to Cayne…she was so sweet and cheerful…and made the world a more beautiful place…and boy could she make me LAUGH!
    in peace,
    Shane

    Comment by Shane Bediz — January 12, 2009 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

  39. Tim and I are having a gathering at our house this Thursday 6ish. I’ve been finding photos and making folders. She was the most photogenic person I ever knew

    Comment by Kim Uddo — January 12, 2009 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  40. I am Cayne’s ex-husband’s, Kevin, sister Jennifer. I broke my heart to read about the stupid and tragic events that led to her senseless death. How could this have happened? How could the people at Tulane have been so stupid and heartless to have someone in troughs of an asthma attack arrested?

    I offer my deepest sympathies to Cayne’s family and friends. She was a bright free sprit and I am sure New Orleans is a little bit darker now without her. This was so wrong!

    Comment by Jennifer Kensler — January 12, 2009 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  41. Much of the information offered on this page, as well as some of that in the Times-Picayune, support the need for a thorough investigation into those on the hospital staff who administered prednisone (surely she mentioned previous adverse reactions to whoever treated her in the ER), did not monitor Cayne for possible side effects, and called the police when she experienced an adverse reaction; and those at the jail who clearly mistreated her and ultimately caused her death (someone mentioned video tapes in cells – a good lead). Names should be named and those responsible should be brought up on charges. If they are not, this will happen again to someone else.

    Comment by Debby — January 13, 2009 @ 6:52 am | Reply

  42. It’s hard to come to terms with what a great loss Cayne’s death is. It is excruciating to write about her in the past tense.
    Cayne was larger than life, effervescent and wildly creative. She was stardust and was an amazing spiritual being. She had a great connection to the earth and to the cosmos.
    I knew her for about 15 years but had lost touch with her. However, once you knew Cayne she was part of your family forever.
    No music festival will ever be the same without her!!!
    Justice will be served for her senseless and untimely death. Cayne has started a revolution.

    Comment by Gretchen — January 13, 2009 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

  43. I want to thank you all for your outpour of affection and support for my sister. Cayne was more than human in my eyes. Her very presence reminded me of that of a mythical creature. Reading over your comments has brought my heart much peace knowing how much she was loved for who she was. Peace & love to you all.
    My cup runneth over.

    Comment by Sophia Miceli — January 13, 2009 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  44. I’ll miss her smile, the hugs and her laughter…those dimples.
    Rest in peace, baby. We’ll fight here for accountability, you go dance in the clouds.

    Comment by Jorge Lopez — January 13, 2009 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  45. From the time we first met Cayne many years ago in New Orleans to the last time we ran with her at JazzFest 2008, she was always our favorite “fester”. She was always gracious and welcoming into her home and we would spend hours catching up with her life and ours. She was full of raw and critical comments regarding the town that treated its people unfairly especially in the wake of Katrina. She was especially critical of the SYSTEM and the unique disfunction related to healthcare. So it is especially ironic and heartbreaking to have this tragedy occur to someone so special.

    Because of Cayne we had come to know the real New Orleans as she introduced us to her extended family of musical and artistic luminaries. The Big Easy will never be the same for us. Her smile and laughter will always echo in the folds of our favorite venues and music. Cayne, your shining star will always be with us.

    Comment by Chris Reilly — January 13, 2009 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

  46. Sweet sweet Cayne, I can imagine your spirit must be smiling that big beautiful smile we know so well and laughing wholeheartedly without struggling for air. Cayne fought with so much strength, integrity and determination to lead a beautiful life and to surround herself with some of the most talented and interesting people out there. Her smile and her laugh and her love for life were intoxicating and truly infectious. My heart hurts when I think of her last days here on this planet; so afraid and so alone and completely helpless. It brings tears to my eyes. That must have been so horrible for her and I hope her tragic death leads to changes and more awareness in the system for those in need as they need help. I get peace of mind knowing that her suffering is over and bureaucracy cannot harm her any longer. She is still the beautiful spirit we all have known her to be, she is merely in a different form. It is sad for all of us who loved her and knew her. We are now the ones who have to endure the pain of her loss. She really was more of a magical, mythical being and was in so many ways beyond us earthlings. Cayne Micelli, I hope you are able to witness how much you are now missed.

    I met Cayne over the phone through our mutual friend Shakina. I was meeting some friends in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I had never set foot in the crescent city and without even knowing me or my friends, she welcomed us into her home and took us around town and even got us all tickets for MOMs Ball. That sealed the deal 5 years ago and since then, her home was always open to me for jazzfest. I had such a great introduction to New Orleans through her. She once told me that my Jupiter line runs through New Orleans, which meant that the city really loved me and would essentially roll out the red carpet for me. It has done that, thanks to her showing me the way. I was so happy to return the favor after Katrina and welcome her into my home in Oakland. She had always wanted to live in the Bay Area and through tragedy at home she was able to expand her horizons. After some time it was clear that the Bay Area was not her home and she met some of my friends down south in sweet little Ojai. It was a healing place for her to be as she really just awaited the proper time to return to her beloved city.

    Today I am happy to know that I significantly impacted her life and both directly and indirectly introduced her to some people who really rocked her world and loved her up! I also can say that through her, I am so blessed to have met many people who I know are my friends for life. We touched each other deeply and forever and I am feeling so grateful and so happy to carry her legacy onward. Thank you so much Cayne!!!

    Comment by Tyler Olive — January 14, 2009 @ 1:03 am | Reply

  47. I have known Cayne for over a decade. I always considered her a good friend, and a light in my life even in times of her personal darkness. I dont think that a week went by in that time that I didn’t have contact with her. She shared her problems with me, and her joys. We were close. When out at a festival, or music venue, I would get a big juicy hug because she was always there. Now theres a big void in the love fabric. I am deeply outraged by the way she met her demise, as I am a respiratory therapist and I have worked at the old Charity System for 17 years. If Charity was open today, this would have never happened. Cayne would have been safe and sound on the 3rd floor.
    All of us who loved Cayne should get together and do something. I would appreciate any updates or plans you all have. Thank you, Walter

    Comment by Walter S Smith — January 14, 2009 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  48. Again, I welcome any information about a memorial or event concerning Cayne.
    You can reach me by email at moondoggie3@cox.net. Thanks, Walter

    Comment by Walter S Smith — January 14, 2009 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  49. THough i didn’t know cayne very well, only through friends, i am quite familiar with the workings and machinations of the OPP psych ward and the local police. The ACLU and the Metropolitan Police Commission, the watchdog group for the NOPD and Sheriffs department, have been very interested in cases such as cayne’s. There have been too many deaths in the hands of the police, particularly on the psych ward at OPP. As a social worker i have tried to contact OPP psych on clients’ behalf and have never gotten much response and staff is minimally available by phone. THe use of restraints is so outdated for psychiatric units; chemical restraints are what most psych units utilize in the 21st century. To put someone in five point restraints when they are having difficulty breathing is just negligence. I hope someone has contacted the ACLU and the Metropolitan Police Commission. They have ongoing concerns with the operations of OPP.

    Comment by janelle — January 14, 2009 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

  50. I first met Cayne several years back during my annual sojourn from San Francisco to New Orleans for Jazz Fest. Ever the sweet, gentle, generous, caring and openhearted person she had opened her home to multiple friends from across the country who needed a place to stay for the duration. Chocolates and love are what I remember most about that time.

    Over the next several years I ran into Cayne all over town….on Frenchman Street, uptown at Tip’s, chilling at the Maple Leaf…..always enjoying the music, people and vibe in her own inimitable fashion with a smile and kind word for everyone!

    I count myself extremely fortunate to have had the chance to know Cayne better last October when I flew to New Orleans to attend a friend’s wedding and ran into her at a Tip’s show. We ended up hanging out together continuously for several days enjoying eachother’s company and laughing alot. She shared many tales (happy and sad)from her past as well as her hopes and dreams for the future. What a wonderful, complex and intriguing woman!

    I last spoke to Cayne by phone shortly after Christmas. She was doing so well. Finally in a good living situation she was determined to focus on making herself happy for once. It was the most upbeat and positive tone I had heard from her in months. I truly felt she had turned the corner and was so very close to attaining the inner peace and happiness she so richly deserved.

    The last contact I received from Cayne was via text message on New Year’s Eve. As always she managed to put a big smile on my face…..

    The tragic news of her death hit me like a ton of bricks. I was quite literally floored and unable to grasp what I was hearing. How could this have happened? Why did it have to happen? Questions asked by the grief stricken people since the beginning of time……questions that can never be answered in a way that takes away the pain and sorrow.

    I have only now recovered sufficiently to at least share my memories and express my deepest condolences to her family. This blog has been and continues to be a godsend for those of us who were lucky enough to spend time with Cayne during her all too brief time on this planet. I can only imagine the pain and sorrow her family must feel.

    Please know that Cayne lives on in all our hearts.

    Four years ago a close friend of mine was dying of cancer at the age 42. He was so very brave in facing death. He actively embraced the opportunity to prepare both his friends and family for what was soon to come. One of his final wishes was to have this beautiful Hopi Indian poem read at his funeral. It meant alot to everyone grieving that day and I wanted to share it now with everyone here, especially her family, because I think Cayne would have appreciated it as well and wanted us all to take it to heart at this dark and terrible time.

    HOPI INDIAN POEM

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there, I do not sleep.

    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints in snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.

    When you awaken in the morning hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the stars that shine at night.

    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there, I did not die.

    PEACE AND LOVE CAYNE….we will miss you terribly……

    Comment by Chris A. (SF) — January 15, 2009 @ 6:07 am | Reply

  51. I am so touched and grateful for all the love surrounding and supporting Cayne. I miss her terribly and have so many regrets. My family is making a decision on a memorial here in Alabama right now and I will post info when I get it. there will be memorials in Pensacola and New Orleans. Thank you to evefryone who loved and enjoyed Cayne. I hope she is fluttering around us, gently placing her hands on us.

    I’m very angry about this. It still can’t believe it is real.

    Thanks.

    Cristy Richmond (Cayne’s sister)

    Comment by Cristy Miceli Richmond — January 15, 2009 @ 7:26 am | Reply

  52. [...] Sheriff Marlin Gusman rationalized Orleans Parish Prison’s mishandling of asthmatics like Cayne Miceli and others whose medical conditions are obviously beyond the scope of OPP’s capabilities for [...]

    Pingback by “I think that we gave her maybe the best medical care that we could have given her.” « NOLAmotion Blog — January 16, 2009 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  53. Hey Christy, I spoke with your daddy this morning. I am so sorry for your loss – there just aren’t words. Cayne was such a beautiful free spirit and will be missed by many, especially her family. You didn’t just lose a sister you lost a best friend. Knowing the Miceli determination, y’all will get to the bottom of this and Cayne’s tragedy will put an end to this. From what I have researched, the “system” has been failing a lot of people in NOLA. I know you won’t let it happen to another if at all possible. I wish your children could have known her longer but they were certainly remember her; how could one not?!?! Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you, Mike, Sophia, and the rest your family. We will see you at the memorial.

    Comment by Renee' Jones — January 16, 2009 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  54. The last time i saw Cayne was in Nashville Tn. She and a friend had sought refuge after Katrina. I had not seen her for at least 8 or more years prior. It was as if we had seen each other just the week before. We just picked up where we left off. When i met Cayne she was in Pensacola and married to Kevin M. She was making jewelry. I asked her if she would make a new ring for me out of my high school ring. She agreed and as was sometimes her fashion she proposed a barter. In the deal she got two fabulous red high backed chairs that were my grandmothers and i received the most beautiful ring with such wonderful details of silver vines and gold leaves, truly a one of a kind, Cayne creation. I think i came out on top of that deal. Over the years i have misplaced this ring several times. It has always come back to me, always. There is and will always be a little part of Cayne in this ring. To see it and know her hands made it will always fill me with the so many wonderful memories i have of our Cayne. Even though we were not in touch these past few years, it was comforting to know that she was on the planet. We must remember that our love lasts forever….we never really go. I love you Cayne…our little, precious flower..forever in our hearts. To the Miceli family. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.

    Respectfully,

    Lyle Lorren

    Comment by lyle lorren — January 17, 2009 @ 11:34 am | Reply

  55. In characterizing Cayne as a troubled soul, one needs to realize that the drugs she had to take for her asthma probably made this so. The meds make one upset. In going to the medical center and no doubt getting breathing treatment and the prednisone, they should of given her a ‘relaxant’ because the breathing treatment makes one agitated and then coupled with the prednisone, a double whammy. In any other country besides the USofA, the medical systems would of done this. If anything “heavy” is laid on you in this state, people crack. She cracked and bit a security guard. She knew inhumanity would greet her going in there.
    In being described as a free spirit, one has to gather strength by elevating themselves at critical moments. A lesson from all of this is to never, ever treat anyone sadistically. This is a tragic story.

    Insurance companies run this country.

    Comment by Daria — January 17, 2009 @ 11:42 am | Reply

  56. I’ve cleared it with Cosmic Debris to add a sub crew for Cayne on Mardi Gras Day. Cosmic Debris is the same group that plays as the M.O.M.’s Royal Band at the M.O.M.s Ball that Cayne loved so much. Cayne has also participated in Cosmic Debris as well.

    We traditionally always do a small jazz funeral procession once we reach Jackson Square to the river and then we do a memorial service for those who are no longer with us at the steps that go down to the river. I plan on getting the group to break into the Jazz Funeral a little earlier than our usual mark gfor Cayne.

    We traditionally start at the Blue Nile on Frenchman street about 12:00 noon on Mardi Gras Day. Our route starts up Frenchman to decatur street stopping at Mollys for ‘livations’ and then carrying on to Jackson Square to the River and then after the river we go back into the French Quarter to 2nd line.

    I’ve spoken with Kim who has told me that some of the ladies were going to wear black cat costumes for Caynes cat-like prowlness. I’ve suggested that maybe we do black arm bands for those wishing to wear traditional costumes as a show of support. If anyone has black material that they would like to share for this.. it would be greately appreciated.

    I’ve also suggested maybe a banner to be carried up front and maybe have some flyers to let people know what happened to our beloved and cherished friend.

    We are still planning a regular traditional Jazz Funeral; but we think it’s appropriate to celebrate her life on Mardi Gras day which was one of Caynes favorite New Orleans events.

    If anyone has any questions or can help out in any way; please don’t hesitate to contact me. jb1524@yahoo.com or 504.319.0105

    John Birdsong

    PS… on a side note the young lady murdered in the French Quarter saturday night was a very good friend of mine and I may ask that if possible we support Wendy’s friends in keeping attention to our crime and city policing problems. I have also asked channel 26 news to followup with Caynes story and will be receiving a phone call from one of there reporters on thursday to pass along information to help keep attention on Caynes story.

    Comment by john birdsong — January 18, 2009 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  57. The person who said “get me security instead of “she needs psychiatric care as well” is THE ONE who changed so many lives. Touched so many and broke so many hearts. Its not the system or the cops. Its one person who made the wrong call. Maybe she was just having a bad day or was intimidated by Caynes great looks and she was probably making very valid very loud comments. But security instead of more care. Sticks in my head. Its so true that one persons actions can and will effect so many forever.

    In shock and denial.

    I met her at Kee o Kee about 17 years ago. Last saw and danced with her at Voodoo Fest 2007 to DR.JOHN.
    I will always see Cayne as she was that very night!

    Comment by FranMcCartney — January 19, 2009 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  58. [...] Here is the account of a young woman who died because of the lack of adequatae healthcare for the uninsured in our city. From NOLAmotion: After being treated at Tulane Medical Center with a powerful steroid, prednisone, for her severe asthma, my friend Cayne Miceli believed she was having an adverse reaction to the drug. She sought to be re-examined and/or admitted and was turned away because the hospital felt it had done its job, and because she had no insurance. Unable to contain her frustration, her emotional state aggravated by the steroids, she flew into a rage and was taken away to jail. [...]

    Pingback by Demand Justice « casa de Charlotte della luna — January 19, 2009 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  59. I first met Cayne (at least that I can remember) when my band played Louisiana Jukebox. She was extraordinarily outgoing, helpful and beautiful. After that it seemed every concert, second line, Super Sunday or any gathering where my favorite people and purveyors of our culture meet, Cayne was there. We were passing friends, always up for a party, dance or general tomfoolery. She was a beacon of Mid City, but had no qualms spreading the joy to any part of town. After Katrina, my family ended up in Nashville, where me and some like minded, ex-patriate New Orleanians formed a band called the 504-EVER band to raise money for Katrina victims. Cayne was at almost all of these events and, oddly enough, it was Nashville where Cayne and I became close friends, rather than passing ships. In a way, she was part of the band, glitter on her face and those funky ass snakeskin lookin pants. It’s amazing how trauma, destruction and disaster will make you closer. After we all got back to the City, Cayne and I (and usually shoeless Eric) spent countless hours pontificating, gossiping, joking and generally enjoying each other’s company like New Orleanians do. She came to my crawfish boils, my gigs, our parties, everything. I miss her a lot and it’s taken me a few weeks to be able to step back and express this. I’m fucking outraged at our city, our government and even our citizens who don’t demand that basic health services be required. Why the Hell do I pay taxes? I have no interest in funding a war or bailing out out a bunch of failed, douchebag bankers. I do have an interest in my friends availability to health care. My parents can’t move back to N.O. since Katrina because there is no health care, and now I’ve lost a dear friend. Everytime I scroll through my phone, I see her number. It won’t be erased. We would text mail each other stupid jokes, sarcastic comments and general shenanigans. Her last text to me was her favorite new quote from Albert Einstein, “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it’s limits.” Couldn’t sum it up better myself, and unfortunately, the irony in her death proves it’s. Rest in peace Cayne, wherever you are, we are with you.
    – Dave Jordan

    Comment by Dave Jordan — January 20, 2009 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  60. So sad. I was reading the article when it was in the paper. At first I thought didnt realize it was Cayne because I didnt know her last name. Suddenly it hit me that I knew this woman who suffered this terrible death. I too have asthma and just had a similar incidence. I met Cayne through a friend that I was living with. She was an amazing person. Different from most people at the time, because she was very uplifting. after that I saw her everywhere, Jazzfest, Louisiana Music Shop, Funny Forty Fellows, just everywhere. I always stopped and said hi. always very kind, very lively, and truly a great spirit. I am happy to hear that she had Eric by her side.

    Comment by SKM — January 22, 2009 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  61. We gave Cayne a good Christian send off at the Our Lady Of The Gulf Church in Gulf Shores.I know Cayne was cool with Christ even though she had more afinity with ISIS and Pagan religons. Anyway it was good to see her family again. And in looking through all of my old photos I realized we had some realy great times together, I am thankful for that,-be free Cayne fly through the universe and light up the sky.
    Peace & Love

    Comment by KEVIN MARCHETTI — January 25, 2009 @ 9:31 pm | Reply

  62. Amen, DJ.

    & I think “Cool with Christ” needs to be a new line of T-shirts, bumper stickers …

    Comment by Shoeless — January 27, 2009 @ 1:35 am | Reply

  63. .

    Comment by Shoeless — January 27, 2009 @ 1:37 am | Reply

  64. It was a beautiful service, and unique, just like Cayne. Both her father and her sister, Cristy, gave readings which made it so very personal. That had to be one of the hardest things they’ve ever done, yet the most loving.

    Comment by Renee' Jones — January 27, 2009 @ 8:40 am | Reply

  65. I am so shocked and angry and sad to hear of Cayne’s untimely death. She was a truly delightful person. Meeting her and learning about Wicca helped me to reconcile my personal beliefs with Christianity and vice versa. “Cool with Christ” indeed.

    I have no worries for Cayne, I’m sure she will be there this weekend for KdV and MOM’s, in a better costume than ever! I’m sad for all of us because a light has been extinguished from our view and we must soldier against the inertia of indifference without her.

    Comment by ClarkT — February 2, 2009 @ 9:39 am | Reply

  66. ohhh, lady cayne… when i think of you’re always smiling. and dancing. i have loved you since i met you back in the day in pcola. i can scarce believe you’re gone.

    we will make sure justice is served. we must make sure this never happens to anyone else. you would do the same for us.

    when i called your phone it said you were “…outside the calling area.” :) i love how the beginnings of our phone conversations always went: “mama trish!” “lady cayne!”

    i loved you so much. you scared me a little, what with your alternative beliefs and wild woman ways, but i couldn’t help but love you. and appreciate you. because whatever i needed to talk about, no matter how far out in left field, you never looked at me funny, because no matter how weird i was, you were always 10 times weirder.

    now i’m the weirdest person i know and i will miss you terribly. love, mama trish

    ps i didn’t realize you were on myspace, but i bet i heard your voice more often because of it. and i’m glad.

    Comment by mama trish — February 13, 2009 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  67. Well I did see her at KdV, and at MOM’s and on Mardi Gras day. It seemed she was everywhere in the crowd.

    For me, she was finally laid to rest on Mardi Gras day when I happened into the Krewe of Cayne on Royal Street. I had a few cathartic moments with some of you, her friends I had never met. I was given some of her ashes to spread the rest of the day.

    Thanks to all of Cayne’s friends who were out that day, making this the most intense and wonderful Mardi Gras of the 31 that I have been to.

    Comment by ClarkT — March 16, 2009 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  68. I can hardly believe it has been over three months without her. I feel like I am ssssllloowwwly waking from a nightmare, realizing that I am not going to hear “Greetings! This is Cayne!” anymore. Does anyone have any updates?

    Comment by Judy Ann Olsen — April 26, 2009 @ 10:48 am | Reply

  69. I just found out about this tragedy. It has been many years since I have seen Cayne and had googled her name to try to find out what had happened to her. That was when I found all of this.

    I dated Cayne as a freshman at the University of Florida in 1983 and 1984. Although we went our separate ways (entirely my fault) we remained friends and in contact for a few years. I lost track after she left Gainesville in 1986. I found her in Pensacola in 1994 but she had moved on.

    In the 23 years since I last saw Cayne not a week has gone by that I have not thought of her; for many years I thought of her daily. She was intelligent, energetic, loving and honest, not to mention beautiful. It is a testament to her that even after 23 years, she still effects me.

    Rest in peace Cayne. We dance for you.

    Comment by Chet — July 19, 2009 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  70. I befriended Cayne at Pensacola’s 2001 Disco in 1987 when she worked for Magnolia Roses. She had a beautiful smile,and she was the favorite of all of the “rose girls”. I still have a good picture of her in her work uniform. After that time,I still saw her many times;when she was bartending at Trader Jon’s,or at Seville Park when bands were playing,or at Olde Town Tavern when Mama Trish was playing. She was a big fan of the Psychedelic Furs band. Every time I listen to-or play-one of their songs,I think of Cayne Miceli. Just today I was informed of her passing. Her former husband Kevin Marchetti told me about it. I’ve known Kevin since we were kids. I am very saddened to receive the news,but honored to witness to you all about how beautiful she was. What a doll. Goodbye,Cayne. Love,Geoff the Limo Driver.

    Comment by Geoffrey Hall — September 8, 2009 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  71. I knew Cayne in Pensacola when she regularly attended gigs I played at Seville Quarter, Trader Johns and other list of clubs in the area, from Mobile to Gulf Breeze, Cayne made it to shows I played. I just learned this news and it is terribly, terribly sad. I don’t know what to say. She was such a sweet, bubbly girl when I knew her and I cant imagine her life ending, especially this way. – Mike Lawson

    Comment by Von Johin — September 16, 2009 @ 9:13 am | Reply

  72. I was at a crawfish party during Jazz Fest when a mutual friend Tyler introduced Cayne and I .We were both sporting red mini dresses ,LOOK Out.The girls invited me to The reopening of the “W”Hotel post Katrina.Lauren Hill was playing in the lobby for a private party of 300 persons.Cayne was on the guest list. They were passing champagne, appetizers and the models all had red dresses. I will never forget the incredible female bonding that night with Cayne .After that night I knew I had made a friend for LIFE.My friends did not tell me the news of Caynes tragic passing till the day I was leaving Jazz Fest this past May.I could not even drive that day.I cried all the way to Vermont.I am still crying.I am not in New Orleans but I beg of the residents to stand up against this injustice. They killed our beloved friend, sister, daughter, lover to all. Her inner and outer beauty will never be forgotten, She LOVED NOLA and the people, music culture,
    NO ONE deserves to be murdered especially our beautiful, loving, free spirited, kind, compassionate sister. God Bless New Orleans and the injustices in our law and health care systems. This abuse has got to stop. My sister was tasered 26 times in FWB Florida 4 years ago and is still waiting for her justice to be served.She was minding her own business in her hotel room on Easter Sunday morning, no alcohol, no drugs,They say she was arrested for checking out 20 minutes too late. Our criminal justice system is pathetic, A JOKE, A travesty to this once great country of ours.Lord hear our prayers. Cayne I miss you honey, your smile could light up the world and it id.It hurts very badly to say goodbye, TRY, CRY, WHY!! Love Rita Brown

    Comment by Rita Brown — October 28, 2009 @ 8:57 am | Reply

  73. Facebook memorial page for Cayne. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/pages/Cayne-Miceli-Memorial-Page/228328854165?ref=nf

    Comment by Chris Turrentine — December 31, 2009 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  74. [...] Cayne Miceli was a truly mystical and deeply spiritual soul. She was enlightened, vibrant, sexy, colorful, outgoing, outspoken and could turn the most mundane moment into one of great insight, joy and hilarity. She possessed a sharp wit that she wielded with taste and great humor. She was never mean despite her struggles. She radiated life, even when she was not in great spirits. Cayne also had a capacity for understanding and analysis that made her counsel and advice meaningful, thoughtful and soothing. And she never gave you a sense that she was patronizing you or was impatient with your thoughts, though she was jumping to put her two cents into the discussion. She shared like nobody I’ve ever known, everything she had: emotional, physical, spiritual. Despite her struggles, she knew love because she gave love. Her friends and family grew with her passing, despite our pain, as we all connected and continue to share our love for her and for each other. Tuesday night, January 5, some of her friends gathered at a live music club to light candles at midnight to honor the anniversary of her passage and to conjure her spirit. [...]

    Pingback by Thoughts on the Anniversary of the Passing of Cayne « NOLAmotion Blog — January 6, 2010 @ 1:16 am | Reply

  75. [...] this issue for decades; because, for too many, the cost was measured in the loss of loved ones like Cayne Miceli. And there is no doubt that far too many of those lives were lost due to a plethora of failures [...]

    Pingback by Thoughts on the LSU hospital plans « NOLAmotion Blog — January 27, 2010 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

  76. I was with Shoeless Eric standing at Caynes bedside the night we had to unplug her. Life in this city has been completely altered for me since that night. Cayne was such a vital part of this city. I’ve heard rumors of her case going criminal but have never heard anything about any hearings. If anyone knows of any of this please pass on the info.
    I feel the city is making a terrible mistake if they let Charity Hospital shut down forever. I’ve gone to some of the meetings and second lines and I don’t understand the logic behind the debate other than it’s about money and not about saving people like Cayne so they can dance another day.

    Comment by Bellavia — September 23, 2010 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  77. I’m sorry to hear about your loss and from what it sounds, the city of New Orlean’s loss. I too miss someone greatly who I knew, who passed away as a result of an inept medical structure in New Orleans, post Katrina. I think about my friend almost every day…and I empathize with everyone who knew Cany Miceli…remember well, be well…
    -Drake

    Comment by Drake Toulouse — November 6, 2010 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  78. Cayne was one of my best friends in high school. I am so hurt to hear of her death. I did speak with her after Katrina and asked her to stay with me, but she said she was fine. She was one of the smartest, nicest, interesting, funny, and unique people to date I have ever met. I wish we would have kept in better touch and she would have been in my life more. I love you, Cayne.

    Comment by TK Nunley — January 23, 2011 @ 8:26 am | Reply

  79. Hi,
    I was good friends with Cayne when we both lived in Pensacola. I was travelling around the states,(i live in the Netherlands) and she introduced me to sailing. We kept in touch, but i just recently learned about her death. I am absolutely shocked and appalled, and would like to do something about this travesty of justice!!!! Please let me know if there is anything i can do to at least prosecute the murderers responsible for the death of one of the most innocent souls i have ever had the honor of knowing.
    Liz Ellison
    ellisonea@yahoo.com

    Comment by Liz — January 27, 2011 @ 1:35 pm | Reply

  80. I met Cayne in 1983, at Jennings Hall, Univ of FLorida. We were college freshmen. I was smitten by her charisma, intelligence, joy. We hung-out daily, enjoying each other’s company. I was fascinated by her and have never forgotten her. By chance, I heard of this tragedy on the national news. What a loss! I am truly sad, but am blessed to have shared life with her.

    Comment by Louis Friend — February 1, 2011 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

  81. I was listening to NPR tonight when I heard Cayne’s named mentioned. I haven’t seen her since eighth grade in Pensacola…but her vivacity remained with me over three decades. I’m deeply saddened by the loss and the situation in which it happened. May her family know that Cayne touched many lives, and I hope justice may be done.

    Comment by Christine — February 1, 2011 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

  82. I think it is despicable that coroners this inept,and biased are allowed to practice.
    It is also despicable that the Police,not just in LA,but any state,are allowed to do whatever they want,up to and including murder,and are covered up routinely. they are public SERVANTS,and they forget this. They are no better than anyone,tho they all seem to think they are.
    I just saw about Cayne, and feel awful. She was so pretty. I feel very bad for her Father as well,and hope he can find peace one day.
    I think it is way past time to remind the Police and all related fields,Coroner,judicial ect,that they are public servants,and not above the law. They have been elected and appointed to serve and help the public,and enforce public law,not to somehow believe they are above them.

    Comment by Craig — February 2, 2011 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  83. I was watching our local PBS station the last week of April and “Frontline” was on. The show was called “Post Mortem” and probably can be gotten from pbs.org/frontline/postmortem. Cayne’s story was told and an interview with her father who does have a lawsuit against “NO” coroner-Minyard-who covers for the police. I am glad that her story made national news and hopefully justice will be done for her. Daria

    Comment by Daria — May 2, 2011 @ 10:46 am | Reply

  84. Every day in America 44, 000 people have an asthma attack with acute symptoms and 9 of them will die (AAFA, 2007). These statistics are for the general population, but what about the vulnerable populations? Missing you Cayne.
    Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (2007). Asthma management and education: Some facts about asthma. Retrieved from http://www.mylearningcommunity.com

    Comment by kim — June 8, 2013 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  85. I am so glad that i got to know her. I still miss her, deeply and regularly. Her laugh was one of the most beautiful things i have ever heard. If there is a heaven, she is laughing. And dancing…

    Comment by mama trish — September 9, 2013 @ 9:41 pm | Reply


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