A 15-year-old killed this week in New Orleans is being remembered by those who knew him as a youth wise beyond his years.
George Carter was found shot to death about 7 a.m. Tuesday in the 3500 block of Piety Street in the Desire area.
The ninth-grader, the latest of several teenagers to be killed in the city this year, lived in the area, said Elizabeth Ostberg, principal of NET Charter High School, where Carter had been a student since August.
Officer Garry Flot, a Police Department spokesman, said Thursday that investigators had no new leads on a motive or suspect in the case.
Ostberg described Carter as small and quiet but articulate when he spoke.
For almost half his life, the boy was involved with Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, a youth organization that focuses on leadership development.
On a brief tribute on its website, the organization said Carter, who described himself as a “pre-thinker” since he became involved with the group at 7 years old, “touched so many people with his humor, vision and courage.”
“George was a natural leader. He was incredibly intuitive,” Karen “KG” Marshall, the group’s executive director, said in an interview. “He had a way of bonding with his peers, knowing what to say. He was just incredible.”
His friends at the organization gathered Thursday night to mourn his loss, Marshall said.
“It’s incredibly devastating for a lot of the young people, his friends,” she said. “A lot of people are just trying to figure out what to do. It wasn’t news you’d expect to hear. It just didn’t feel real at first.”
Carter was involved with projects that included designing school facilities, making short films and writing a graphic novel.
In a 2009 documentary about the Rethinkers, he spoke about ways to improve schools. His suggestion: a garden at each school.
“I like to go out in the garden because it can calm me down,” he said. “You feel safe because you’re around nature, and nature won’t hurt you.”
Later, in 2012, Carter spoke during a panel discussion at a youth conference on “The Root of It All: The State of Mental Health of New Orleans.” He discussed standardized testing and how it affected some of his schoolmates.
“The problem is everybody has to learn at one level,” he said. “Let’s say I’m lagging behind in math. That means I have to work harder to move up. If I have to work harder, I’ll gonna get stressed. If I get stressed, I won’t be able to do my work. I’ll probably flunk class and drop out of school. If I drop out of school, I’m gonna be on the streets. If I’m on the streets, I’m going to be homeless, dead or in prison.”
Carter “had an innate sense of fairness and was always standing up for what he believed in. He was the first to speak up when he saw an injustice, challenging everyone around him to live up to an ideal of equity,” the organization said on its website. “He was also quick to laugh, making his love of pie a frequent source of humor. George was charming, passionate, witty and a visionary.”
Follow Danny Monteverde on Twitter, @DCMonteverde.