New Orleans is plagued by crime and Mayor Mitch Landrieu does not feel safe in parts of the city. Last Thursday six people were shot sitting on a front porch in Gentilly, including a six year old who was hit in the head. The drive by shooting occurred in the 3600 block of Franklin Avenue around 7:48 p.m. That’s right near the I10-610 split, the cross street is Myrtle.
Local news outlets showed up to the crime scene to film and report on the events. Landrieu planned to make a statement on location. But the reporters had to relocate in a hurry as the Mayor said he would instead talk to reporters at University Hospital.
Landrieu and NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said several times during the question session outside of the hospital that they met with all of the victims and their families. But then something odd happened. The final question was a reporter asking if Mitch or Harrison could give the gender break down of the shooting victims.
“We can get that to you, we can get that to you right when we finish this, off line,” said Harrison. Odd, they just visited with the victims but can’t say how many of the six were male and female? Perhaps six gunshot victims makes it difficult to remember all the details. Then again, did they really visit with all of the victims?
If something seems off about the quick change of plans, that’s because there’s another factor at play. The real story on changing the location of the press conference is that Mitch told his staff that he preferred giving a statement at the hospital because he didn’t feel safe on Franklin & Myrtle.
Let that process: Mayor Landrieu does not feel safe in New Orleans. Even when he would have been surrounded by police and news cameras. The Mayor publicly downplays the impact of crime on residents and tourists, yet it affected the man who brags about “growing up in a diverse neighborhood,” although he never mentions that he actually lives in a very nice area Uptown. Even though Mitch inconvenienced reporters and they had to scramble to get the oh-so-important Mayor’s statement, not one news outlet reported that Mitch is scared to be in his own city.