Last year, 157 people were murdered in New Orleans and, this year, we are on track to match that total. In the past few days, people have been brutally murdered in the heart of the Central Business District on Carondelet Street and on St. Charles Avenue.
Early this morning, a person was killed on Iberville Street, right next to Bourbon Street, in the heart of the French Quarter. This area is the lifeblood of New Orleans tourism, the city’s most important industry. Obviously, any murder on Bourbon Street will garner national and international attention, not the kind of publicity New Orleans needs at this time.
Hopefully, crime cameras in the area will identify the murderer and he will be brought to justice. This would be an unusual result as in most of these cases; the murders are not solved as statistics show 60% of murderers are never brought to justice.
A witness to this morning’s French Quarter tragedy rushed to help the victim but was unable to save his life. He said, “You live in New Orleans. This (expletive) can happen any time of the day.” Of course, he is exactly right, which sums up the problem the city faces.
A major part of the challenge in dealing with this horrendous murder rate is that the public does not show outrage and pressure the politicians to take action. The people of New Orleans have become desensitized to the crime crisis and are only riled if there is a mass shooting or some sort of unusually graphic murder. Otherwise, it is business as usual in the “City That Care Forgot.”
The local media usually downplay the crime stories and focus more on trying to offer support for the agenda of the New Orleans Mayor, a politician who always shares the liberal ideology of the press. Of course, tourism officials also downplay the murders because such negative stories will hurt their industry.
As a result, we can expect more of the same in New Orleans. With Governor John Bel Edwards releasing thousands of prisoners from incarceration across Louisiana and a local group paying the bond of hundreds of defendants and releasing them, it is no surprise that the local prison has fewer than 1,200 inmates, an all-time low for New Orleans.
With such factors working together, the residents of New Orleans can expect the crime rate to remain high for the foreseeable future. Even though the city has a new Mayor, it is the same old crime problem in New Orleans, but it has been made worse due to the well funded campaign to reduce the prison population. All of this is excellent news for one large group of city residents, the criminals.
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]