Leaders of this once-wild cattle town are calling for an apology after the New York Post invoked the community’s name to describe post-hurricane New Orleans.
The headline in Friday’s paper read: “Dodge City. Rape and anarchy in New Orleans.”
Ford County Clerk Vicki Wells said she was disgusted after a reporter pointed out the headline.
“The implication that Dodge City would treat its citizens in that way is disgraceful,” she said. “Dodge City has a reputation from history of being a wild Western town, but Dodge City and Ford County are no longer like that.”
Also offended was Dodge City Commissioner Jim Sherer, who wrote an e-mail to the newspaper calling for an apology on behalf of the city.
“Our hearts have gone out to those people in New Orleans,” he said. “And I just felt like it was kind of a slap in the face.”
Post spokesman Howard Rubenstein said the newspaper’s editors told him they had not meant to offend Dodge City and thought it was clear that the story referred to the chaos in New Orleans.
“It was a reference to American folklore, where at one time Dodge City had that reputation,” he said. “But it certainly does not have that reputation now.”
In the late 1870s, lawman Wyatt Earp made a name fighting crime in this western Kansas town, which sat on a major cattle trail stretching down to Texas. Hollywood cemented the town’s lawlessness in the public’s imagination with “Gunsmoke.” The long-running television series followed the adventures of fictional lawman Matt Dillon as he tried to rid Dodge City of outlaws.