Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Murder in the Big Easy
















(Click image to play video)
Posted By CNN: 11:41 AM ET
  21 Comments
I thought that was a very sad story. I can't believe we live in a society that won't or can't punish killers. It's terrible! I hope N.O. can get their justice system straightened out. I won't be visiting New Orleans anytime soon.
Posted By Jess, Paris, KY : 11:49 AM ET
This is indeed a very sad story. The mayor's office, the police, and the DA's office need to work together as a team or they're not going to get crime under control. I've been hearing that Mayor Nagin is away from NO quite alot of the time, and read an article that perhaps he's considering a run for governor or for the Senate or Congress. In reading some of the Times Picayune articles and other papers, it seems a large part of the crime and violence is drug-related and involves older teens or young adults. Is the justice system teaming up with programs to combat drug abuse and addiction and to address mental health issues? It seems that there are also problems in having sufficient staff (police and legal system) and with the right training.

New Orleans is like two cities. I think life outside the French Quarter and Central Business District must be rather depressing. Progress is slow and in such small steps... the traffic lights, even in the CBD still aren't working properly. Almost everywhere you go, you still see the X search marks on every home, reminding you of how may dead were found there, and SPCA notes about searches for pets. There are so many areas that are deserted and provide good opportunities for crime and drug dealing.

Just to respond to Jess' comment, and to reassure about the French Quarter. I just came back from NO several weeks ago, and I felt quite safe in the French Quarter. There's lots of life and activity, great shopping, great food, great music! It's well policed and very clean during the day. There are great cleaning crews out each morning. I just didn't stay out late at night, and hotel staff did warn me not to go outside the French Quarter or CBD alone. Visiting with others, I did feel safe in other areas of NO in the daytime. I was initially a bit anxious about going, but things were just fine.
Posted By Vicky, Ottawa, ON : 12:37 PM ET
Now I know why the people in New Orleans had to wait so long to get help after Katrina.

You get what you put out there.

The murder numbers are not good. Which proves the people (average people, not just people with titles) are not doing enough for one another.

Everyone has to help raise good people.

We can't just blame the guys who have the titles, they are average people too.

What's the unemployment rate down there? If its high we should be blaming those people to.

How can the human service field be paid more? More people would do that line of work if they were paid what they are worth.

Thanx for everything. Take care
Posted By Karen, Boston, MA : 12:42 PM ET
It seems to me that making the most dangerous areas of the city less desirable
for those who commit these crimes would be #1 on the agenda. To accomplish this the first undertaking would be to clear out all the rubbish, unlivable houses and anything else that would offer cover to these killers and thieves.

So many have already given so much and the reserve has all but been depleted. No one seems to be getting the monay they were promised so that causes another problem.

If I was Nagin I would get down on my knees and beg for assistance. Wait! That was another blunder wasn't it? It's obvious you won't get any help from government (state or federal) they can't even keep their state leaders honest, so forget that.

Beg, and beg again. Ask for National Guard. Put them on patrol, leave them there. Do your best to find financing for a massive clean up, When you get that financing take that money and hire the AMERICANS who "won't do these jobs" Offer them decent wages, a decent place to eat and sleep, and safety from the hoodlums.

Then find an honest person/group to oversee the debt/credit and keep your nose out of the problem. Once that is done those who can will return to something beside the scourge of the USA.

REMEMBER! Nagin and pals are not part of the solution so they must be part of the problem!!

Did anyone see the movie "Escape from New York?Kirk Russell? (Goldies former SO) Every time I see the abandoned, devastated areas of the hurricanes, that movie comes to mind, with good reason.

I didn't mean to write a book. I, like others, just feel so helpless when I see our country being destroyed,for any reason, and I get carried away.

Maggie
Posted By Maggie, Grain Valley, MO : 12:47 PM ET
I appreciate Anderson, 360 and CNN hanging in there with New Orleans. Because of you there will be change! Don't ever give up! THANK YOU!
Posted By Betty Ann, nacogdoches,TX : 1:06 PM ET
Seems like the 360 "blog" has turned into a Youtube wanna be.
Posted By Perry, Dallas, Texas : 1:29 PM ET
This is indeed a very sad story. The mayor's office, the police, and the DA's office all need to work together as a team to get crime under control. It's hard to know how to get accountability. I've been hearing from some in NO that their perception is that Mayor Nagin is away from NO quite alot of the time, and is perhaps working on seeking higher political office. It would seem that those in charge really need to prosecute serious crimes very aggressively. Some of the cases seem to be perpetrated by older teens and young adults, and that much of the crime is related to drugs. Is the justice system teaming up with programs to combat drug abuse and addiction and to address mental health issues? It seems another big issue is having sufficient staff (police and DA), with the right training and resources.

NO is like two cities. It must be rather depressing and a bit of a struggle to live outside of the French Quarter. Progress is evident but slow, even the traffic lights in the Central Business District are not working properly yet. The X symbols summarizing the searching are almost everywhere, and must remind people on a daily basis of the number of people and pets who died. There are so many areas that are deserted, and provide good opportunities for drug dealing and crime.

Just to encourage Jess a bit. I just came back from NO several weeks ago, and I felt quite safe in the French Quarter. It's quite active and alive, with great shopping, food, and music! It was well policed and very clean, though I would not have ventured out too late into the evening. Cleaning crews were out in the early morning, doing a great job. Hotel staff did warn me not to venture outside the French Quarter alone. With others, I did go into other areas of the city, including the lower 9th ward, and felt quite safe during the daytime. Though I was somewhat anxious from all I heard before I went, it was fine.
Posted By Vicky, Ottawa, ON : 1:39 PM ET
Randi/AC360:
Last March 2007, I attended a "resiliency" conference in Mississippi for caseworkers working with Katrina survivors. According to statistics given at the conference, the state of Mississippi has been received over 75 per cent of federal aid to rebuild the Gulf Coast. On the other hand, New Orleans has only received fewer than 30 per cent of federal money. The reason? The state of Louisiana (the governor) doesn't trust the leadership of New Orleans to handle any considerable amount of money. It is just a theory but maybe this is why things are not changing in NOLA.
Posted By Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 1:49 PM ET
It is so sad to hear of the senseless murders that are going on in New Orleans. It is, as what was said in the piece, a sad testament to our society that there are that element of people who don't care about themselves or about humanity and use broken situations to kill and do illegal things.

Unfortunately, this element of people exists in all major cities in the United States, the difference is that those people are usually contained in one or more areas of the city and the senseless killings, drug dealings, gang activity, and drug crimes mostly take place in those contained areas. We call these areas the ghetto.

What sets New Orleans apart from all the other urban cities with large ghetto populations is that the ghetto is not contained and the police and justice systems are not strong enough to prosecute the criminals. Basically it is very easy to kill, do drugs, or do any sort of illegal activity with almost complete impunity.

Hopefully New Orleans will be able to build its police forces and toughen its legal system to help restore peace in the city.
Posted By Mary Winfield; Atlanta, Georgia : 2:04 PM ET
It sounds as though none of the officials in New Orleans are willing to take responsibility for being unable to control the violence in their city.

Failure to assume responsibility is the real epidemic problem facing the entire United States and the same failure to take responsibility originates at the nations's highest office and trickles on down to every other political office.

If politicians cannot do their jobs, then it's time to get rid of them for good.
Posted By Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 2:19 PM ET
We need to knock down the fences built around our criminal justice system or we will cease to exist. We are a city dependent on the tourist industry. This industry can only thrive if the unrelenting crime wave is under control and becomes virtually non existent. There are facts and assumptions we can use to start addressing this problem. Evidently the rewards outweigh the risks and punishment of committing crimes in this city. It was mind boggling to publicly hear about a 60 day rule. The theme to this rule; “if you do the crime it will only cost you 60 days of time”. This is a formula to create habitual offenders. Statistically it is the multiple offenders committing most of the crimes simply because there is little to no consequences for their actions. It’s apparent there is an intimidating presence in the high crime areas from the National Guard and local law enforcement agencies. We can double theses forces and the crime problem will not be solved. The solution is simply to keep the criminal element off the streets via tougher punishments. This will deter criminal activity and remove habitual offenders from our streets. The people working in our criminal justice system needs to be held accountable if tougher punishments are not enforced. The only way to improve public trust is through accountability. Having public trust will bring tourists back in droves.
Posted By Louie Bonnecarre, New Orleans, Louisiana : 3:36 PM ET
When I used to live in New Orleans, public officials had a reputation for corruption. I don't know if that's changed, but I kind of doubt it.
Posted By Barbara, Culver City, CA : 3:40 PM ET
Last night's show was a great contrast of a hard working couple committed to rebuilding and criminals who care nothing about human life. Maybe street cameras would work for NO. They also need to offer more incentives to witnesses, especially protection. As usual, it sounds like politics are involved. What a mess. I hope they are spared any more weather issues. They really need to concentrate on fixing these problems.
Posted By Kathy Chicago,Il : 5:26 PM ET
IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO KNOW
STATISTICS FOR NEW ORLEANS FOR TWO
YEARS PRIOR TO KATRINA. I HAVE HEARD THAT THERE WERE AREAS NEW ORLEANS THAT THE POICE WOULD NOT EVEN PATROL.

SO WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY FOR KATRINA GONE. WHO RECEIVED THE MONEY FROM CONCERTS AND PRIVATE DONATIONS.

I THINK ALOT OF PEOPLE FROM THE POORER AREAS OF NEW ORLEANS MAY BE HAPPIER. I DON'T MEAN THAT TO SOUND HARSH BUT IF THEIR CHILDREN CAN GET AN EDUCATION AND PLAY IN THEIR FRONT YARDS WITHOUT BEING SHOT OR PARENTS CAN FIND BETTER JOBS WHY GO BACK TO A CITY THAT HASN'T ADDRESSED CRIME IN THE PAST AND PRESENT TIME. WHY HASN'T LOW INCOME HOUSING BEEN BUILT IN SAFER AREAS.
Posted By PAM HOUSTON TX : 6:19 PM ET
360:

Your show last night was compelling about the problems a city suffers after a storm.

The entire time I was again thinking where is NOLA's Strategic Plan for Rebirth? Where are the city planners, law enforcement and inspectors?

Your show was a good contrast to CSPAN. (Yes, I know CSPAN. I promise I am not a total nerd and do have a life. LOL at myself!)

US Senator Mary Landrieu was on CSPAN on Friday or Saturday night late. The show was pre-recorded. It was a total CSPAN love feast for government officials and private partnerships. By the time you finished watching the CSPAN program you thought it was like Disney World in NOLA.

Finally, may I make a tiny shout out to my 7 year old son. He finally caught his first load of fish this summer! He actually caught 31 fish at Lake of the Ozarks in MO in about 2 hours.

He said, "Mommy, it was so great it was like they were just jumping in the boat. I love fresh water fishing. You know Mom fresh water is the difference."

The call reminded me of Mattingly's story and I just laughed and said son, don't let them hit you in the chest and knock you out of the boat.

Ah, the beauty of summer and the innocence of childhood!
Posted By Renee Bradenton, FL : 6:26 PM ET
I'd like to repeat the thanks to AC and CNN for keeping NOLA in the front of our thoughts.

Stories like this remind me how quick we in the US are to try to "fix" other countries' problems and how slow we are to examine our own. If even a fraction of the resources that we expend worldwide were spent in the Gulf Coast, how quickly could New Orleans become one of the best places in the country to live?
Posted By Another AC, in Ohio : 7:13 PM ET
I want toi thank CNN and Anderson for being back in the city again bringing attention to the problems we face. It seems like you all have been here more for us since Katrina than our elected officals.
Yes this is another very sad story that we are seeing over and over again. Where is our leadership at in this state and city? We have a mayor who says he trying and a DA who is cancelling criminals cases because they can't keep up with witnesses for thew trials. Neither is a productive force for a city with esculating crime.
People want to return to rebuild and and live, not to be murdered in the streets that elected officials can't controll.
Posted By Mike, uptown New Orleans La : 8:00 PM ET
I want toi thank CNN and Anderson for being back in the city again bringing attention to the problems we face. It seems like you all have been here more for us since Katrina than our elected officals.
Yes this is another very sad story that we are seeing over and over again. Where is our leadership at in this state and city? We have a mayor who says he trying and a DA who is cancelling criminals cases because they can't keep up with witnesses for thew trials. Neither is a productive force for a city with esculating crime.
People want to return to rebuild and and live, not to be murdered in the streets that elected officials can't controll.
Posted By Mike, uptown New Orleans La : 8:01 PM ET
I do not know what to say, but to compare the level of funding that Louisiana and Mississippi received is specious at best. I could quote statistics, but Mississippi received a fairer share of the money from the federal government at first. But that is another story that needs to be explored and hopefully CNN or some other news network will cover that.

The despair of Katrina returnees can be quite overwhelming at times. It is hard for anyone who did not call NOLA home prior to Katrina to understand. There is and was major upheaval in people's social and work networks. I cant even begin to describe it, I just know that the psychic wound is deep and will take years to recover. But I think the high crime rate relates to the concept of "Dont snitch" attitude prevalent among many young people. I taught remedial English this summer and made the mistake of saying why I did not like some rap and some hip hop was because of the violence, the attitude about women, and most importantly don't snitch. I could see the fear in some students faces, when they tried to explain to me about why they dont snitch. I also saw fear in their faces, when it rained heavily one day and they wanted to know if there was a storm in the gulf. At least this time, no commentors recommended tearing down New Orleans.
Posted By Ruth Brewington, Metairie, LA : 8:48 AM ET
I also live in a dangerous city, as do a lot of people. NOLA has always had the reputation of being a place where you have to be very careful of where you walk and when. Crime there is not a new story. I want to know when whoever "they" are will stop talking and do something like raising the elevation of the areas that are most prone to flooding. I think once the city starts moving in a positive direction to change people's view of what it means to rebuild, this other stuff will start to improve. I was in Galveston a week ago and even tho I had seen reports on TV of the devastation of the great hurricane of 1900, it really hit home with me being there. After the 1900 hurricane, the people of Galveston raised bonds (a novel idea--Galvestan citizens pitching in and paying for needed improvements) and paid to raise the elevation of the city and build a sea wall. When another hurricane hit in 1915, the wall held and 8 rather than 6,000+ people died. The engineers from 1900 figured out what needed to be done and the city did it. Perhaps others need to visit Galveston and see the same movie I did.
Posted By Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 12:39 PM ET
To Pam in Houston, To answer your question about why housing can't be built in safer areas--People make areas safe or unsafe. Housing could be built anywhere and it would become what the inhabitants make it. I hope this clarifies your question about unsafe living areas.
Posted By Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 11:09 PM ET
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