New Orleans lost a passionate voice for our music and second-line culture today when writer Deborah “Big Red” Cotton died at the age of 52.

Cotton was best known for her coverage of second line parades and culture for Gambit, and for being among those shot during a Mother’s Day second line in 2013.

Today in his Commentary, Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos remembers Cotton.

The truest measure of a human being is his or her capacity to love — and forgive. By that measure, Deb Cotton was a giant.

Deb forgave the young man who shot her and 18 others on Mother’s Day, 2013, even as her wounds caused her death.

Deb was a consummate, and passionate, New Orleanian. She loved our city’s culture, its music, its traditions, and its people. She poured out that love in her Gambit stories, and she fearlessly criticized anyone who betrayed or short-changed us.

Deb leaves behind an amazing body of work, and a city full of friends who miss her terribly. Somewhere, angels already are forming a second line in her honor.