There is something fishy about the exit of Dr. Jeffrey Rouse from the New Orleans Coroner's race, and it is quite smelly.

Why would Rouse, after running a strong campaign for the office four years ago and after successfully developing and improving the New Orleans Coroner's Office and Forensic Center, fall away from the contest at this time? From his experiences over the last four years in the coroner's office, he would have understood the time requirements for the coroner's position and would have known that he could have a private psychiatric practice while also serving as coroner. His is not a full-time position.

An equally curious question is why would an individual at 75 years of age elect to take on a new position of enormous responsibility at this time in one's life? Citizens of New Orleans complained for years about Minyard's remaining as coroner at the same age that McKenna is running for that office. My husband, who served 24 years as coroner of Jefferson Parish and was younger than McKenna when he retired, chose not to remain coroner because he felt the office needed a younger generation of leadership. I am not an ageist since I myself am 73 years old. However, I would imagine that taking on a new position of civic responsibility requires considerable energy and physical stamina. So what happened? Did Rouse simply desert under fire? Or did some sinister force move him out? We will probably never know. In any event, this affair stinks to high heaven. I hope the voters of New Orleans can also smell the stink.

Carolyn Treuting

licensed clinical social worker

New Orleans