Anderson is doing the show from here in New Orleans Thursday night and one of the subjects we are tackling is the community response to the recent spate of murders in the city.
Last night, I spent some time with residents in the Bywater district as they made signs for Thursday's big march to City Hall. The idea for the march began among residents in the Bywater and Marigny districts, which are located just east of the famous French Quarter, but has become a citywide event that will take place later this morning.
One event that helped galvanize city residents is the well-publicized shooting death of filmmaker Helen Hill. She and her husband, Dr. Paul Gailiunas, were shot in the doorway of their home in the Marigny district on January 4th. Hill's husband survived, but she was killed, leaving behind a two-year-old son.
New Orleans has seen nine murders since January 1 and residents in the Bywater neighborhood, like Jim Mondoro, don't see the city doing much to control the situation. Jim told me that part of the problem is that city leaders tend to ignore areas Marigny and Bywater, which are not frequented by tourists. He said that he and his neighbors do their best to keep an eye out for each other, but that hasn't stopped serious crimes from happening.
Longtime resident Karen Rittvo knows six people, all New Orleans residents, who have been killed since July. This crime spike is even more of a concern for her because not a single arrest has been made in any of these deaths.
Last night, Jim, Karen and their neighborhood friends painted posterboards with slogans like "Tired of Being a Target" and "Enough is Enough" in hopes that Mayor Ray Nagin and the city's police chief will come out and speak with them about solutions to what they see as a problem that will not go away.
Mayor Nagin held a press conference on Tuesday and announced new crimefighting initiatives, including more police foot patrols and expediting murder investigations. Jim and Karen don't think that's enough. They hope that somehow, today's march will force the city to take more action. Nine murders since January 1st is more than enough for these angry and scared New Orleanians.