Tuesday, 28 September 2010 12:34
New Orleans Crime: Two Year Old Toddler Killed, Not Saints Hartley Missed FG
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jeffcrouere_150_200Ever since Saints kicker Garrett Hartley missed a 29-yard field goal against our hated rivals the Atlanta Falcons, the trials and tribulations of this young man have been the talk of the town. Questions abound about his future or whether other kickers should be brought in to compete with him.

Sadly, such sports trivia is getting more attention than a real tragedy, the shooting death of a 2-year old toddler at a second line parade on Dryades Street in New Orleans.

The toddler was killed on Sunday afternoon, but all of the news media outlets led their broadcasts with a report on the Saints loss to the Falcons. When a sporting event is getting more coverage than a tragedy on the streets of New Orleans, we have a problem.

The Saints are a major part of our city and there is tremendous interest in the team, but, it is just a game, a distraction from the harsh realities of life today. The focus should never be on the distraction instead of the reality. It is time we got our priorities straight.

While the spotlight was on sports, a real life and death situation was playing out on the streets of New Orleans. This same drama happens almost every weekend. It is early in a long season and there will be other missed field goals, but this two year old is now lost forever. The promise of this young life has been taken away by a senseless act of savagery.

This innocent child was killed at an event that was supposedly a celebration, a second line parade. However, acts of violence are common at these events. Just a few weeks ago, one woman was killed and four others were wounded at a second line parade in the 7th Ward area of New Orleans. It is clear that there should be limits to these second line parades, which should only be allowed to march with heavy police protection in certain areas of the city.

It is time our undivided attention was directed toward the real problems we face as a community, especially violent crime. If New Orleans cannot control this crime problem, the city will never regain its pre-Katrina population or enjoy a robust economic turnaround.

It is time community leaders and citizens came forward to assist the new Police Chief Ronal Serpas. The killers must be apprehended and there must be a citywide ultimatum to end this type of violence. The police cannot do the job alone, as church and community leaders need to get involved and take action.

Fortunately, the new police chief is making important strides and bringing a new sense of professionalism to the department. The corrupt officers are leaving the force and higher standards will be in place for their replacements.

Polls show the community has a higher regard for the NOPD and rightfully so for important improvements have been made. Nonetheless, Chief Serpas will not succeed without the help of the community. All successful crime fighting requires a close partnership between the police department and the citizens.  As a community, we must vow to take every measure to make sure this type of senseless tragedy never happens again.

The Saints are an important part of our community and add to the quality of life of residents. When the team loses, we are negatively impacted. But, when a two year old is killed, there is no opportunity for a rebound.

This tragedy is a sad reminder that while the Saints won the Super Bowl, our city is nowhere near reaching its top goal as a community, providing our citizens and visitors a safe city to enjoy the many unique attributes of New Orleans.

Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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