In Louisiana, the real problem is not that there are too many criminals behind bars, but that there are too many criminals roaming the streets of Louisiana and preying on innocent victims.
The city in the state with the worst problem is clearly New Orleans, historically one of the murder capitals of the nation. In 2018, the citizens of New Orleans have suffered through a crime surge with an 18% increase over last year.
Crime is pervasive in the city, as people have been victimized in restaurants, on city buses, and in every neighborhood of New Orleans. Recent victims have not just been victims of gun violence. One citizen was recently shot by an arrow; another homeless person was burned alive, while another innocent victim was beaten to death on a city sidewalk.
In response, Mitch Landrieu, the Mayor of New Orleans, has done almost nothing. He has offered mostly platitudes and social programs. In the meantime, his police department is suffering from a shortage of several hundred officers that the Mayor created.
Next month, Mayor Landrieu will embark on a national tour, promoting his new book, which focuses on his fight against “racist” Confederate monuments. Landrieu will use the publicity to sell books and create a national following. Some political commentators believe that Landrieu will eventually run for President of the United States in 2020.
It is infuriating that the Mayor will generate national publicity and receive praise from clueless reporters for his leadership of New Orleans. If the reporters do any research they will discover that the city is not only a cesspool of crime, but also has massive infrastructure and drainage problems made worse by the Mayor’s incompetence and pathetic lack of oversight.
On his “victory” book tour, the Mayor will pat himself on the back for removing monuments that were no threat to any citizen. In fact, his removal of the four Confederate monuments has made New Orleans a less interesting and historic city to visit.
While New Orleans has a serious problem with out of control violence, it is a problem throughout Louisiana. There are many reasons such as poor public schools and the widespread prevalence of poverty and broken families.
The U.S. News and World Report survey also compared economic conditions among the 50 states. In this area, Louisiana is at a severe disadvantage. While our Southern neighbors are attracting new corporate headquarters and automotive plants, Louisiana is saddled with a liberal “tax and spend” Governor, who has not made Louisiana a business friendly state.
Governor Edwards has an appreciation for government, but not the private sector. Louisiana has the highest sales taxes in the nation, a large state government per capita, but a shrinking population. Last year, Louisiana was one of only eight states to suffer a loss of population. At the same time, state government grew in size, exactly the opposite of what should have happened.
The U.S. News and World Report also ranked states on categories such as “fiscal stability.” In this area, Louisiana has a “fiscal cliff” of $1 billion and is always dealing with recurring budget deficits.
In the other areas such as education, healthcare, opportunity, infrastructure, and quality of life, Louisiana has a myriad of problems and does not compare favorably to other states.
Hopefully, this study will be a wake-up call to voters. The state needs to move in a new direction in the next election. It is time for massive change to our “politics as usual” way of operating our local and state government. If not, Louisiana will continue to rank at the bottom and more people will continue to leave a state that has an amazing climate, constant entertainment options, wonderful food, amazing festivals, incredible outdoor activities, the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico and plenty of other advantages. With everything Louisiana has to offer, our state should consistently rank at the top of every state survey. This ranking is an embarrassment, but it is up to the people of Louisiana to finally do something to change it.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]