- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A California personal injury lawyer is recovering from a severe beating suffered in New Orleans, and wondering why it happened.

Bill Callaham of Sacramento said three strangers beat him unconscious without robbing him - and he was wearing a Rolex watch and had a cellphone and hundreds of dollars in his pockets.

“I don’t know if they got interrupted. I don’t know if they didn’t care,” he told The New Orleans Advocate (https://bit.ly/1Cjrv9B). “They apparently made no attempt even to take anything from me.”

Callaham was in town Dec. 11 to speak at a seminar sponsored by the Louisiana Association for Justice, a group of trial lawyers, most of whom handle civil court lawsuits.

After walking around the French Quarter and enjoying live music, he said, he decided to walk to the Hyatt Regency hotel, less than a mile away. He said he was attacked within blocks of the French Quarter but could not remember the street.

Callaham tells media outlets that he remembers nothing about the attack itself, only that three men angled across a street toward him and one of them mumbled something.

The next thing he recalls is staggering down the street, wondering how his jaw and nose had been broken.

Two women pulled up in a car and asked if he needed help.

“I don’t know,” he replied. They asked again and he realized that he did.

They took him to Ochsner Baptist Hospital, where police interviewed him about 4:50 a.m. Friday.

“Hospital medical personnel advised that the victim’s jaw was fractured, he had lacerations to his top and bottom lips and his front teeth were chipped,” Officer Garry Flot, a police spokesman, wrote in an email to Nola.com ‘The Times-Picayune.

Callaham said his jaw was broken in six places, requiring a steel plate to hold it together. One cheek was broken and two teeth knocked out.

Doctors at Ochsner sent him to the trauma center at Interim LSU Hospital. There, he said, he was told his surgery had to be delayed “because there were too many serious injuries, gunshot wounds and other crime victims who had life-threatening injuries that needed more emergent care than I did.”

He will be on a liquid diet for at least seven weeks.

The local legal community sent members a memo about Callaham’s experience.

He stayed with longtime friends and Metairie attorneys Harry and Mary Widmann after getting out of the hospital.

“I think we have an insurgency of predators in this city that are viciously attacking people and something really has to be done about it,” Harry Widmann told WWL-TV. “If you have friends or visitors coming into town, warn them, offer them a ride, tell them to take a taxi cab because, very simply, our streets are not safe.”

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