A brutal attack by three men in New Orleans this past December can't keep California lawyer Bill Callaham away from Louisiana.
According to a WWL-TV report, Callaham returned to New Orleans on Friday night for the first time since that incident to celebrate with friends and family.
"So many people ask me, why would you go back? Are you afraid to go back? I say not at all," he said in the report. "I love New Orleans. I had a bad incident. I don't blame the city, I don't blame New Orleans. I think it's a wonderful city. I'm happy to be back."
On that December night, Callaham, 66, had crossed Canal Street about 2 a.m. and gone a block or two into the Central Business District when he first spotted a trio of young men out of the corner of his eye.
One of them addressed Callaham, who had flown to the city to give a Dec. 12 address on trial presentation techniques at a Louisiana Association for Justice conference.
“They made some comment which I ignored,” Callaham said in an interview Friday. “I continued walking without turning back or paying any attention to them.”
The next thing Callaham remembers, he was staggering down the street, disoriented, having just regained consciousness. “I was covered in blood, bleeding profusely,” he said. “I remember standing and leaning on a trash receptacle for support, trying to figure out why I was bleeding and what was going on.”
“I don’t know if I was out for 30 seconds or 20 minutes,” he added. “I have no memory at all of any fight, being hit. Absolutely no memory of any of that.”
Puzzlingly, the assailants did not take anything from Callaham, who said he was wearing a nice cashmere jacket, slacks and a Rolex watch. Several hundred dollars remained in his wallet, untouched. “I don’t know if they got interrupted. I don’t know if they didn’t care,” he said. “They apparently made no attempt even to take anything from me.”
At some point, two young women pulled up in a vehicle, asking whether Callaham needed help. “I said, ‘I don’t know,’ ” he recalled.
Moments later, he realized his jaw had been broken and that he needed emergency treatment. The women drove Callaham to a nearby hospital, and a CT scan soon made plain the extent of his injuries. “They came back and said, ‘You have very serious facial and jaw injuries. We can’t handle it here. We’re going to send you over to University Hospital,’ ” he said.
Callaham underwent a complicated surgery that took several hours and involved six surgeons. He had suffered a broken jaw that required placing a metal plate across his lower mandible, in addition to a fractured nose and several broken teeth.