WWL had a piece last night on the local reaction to a rising wave of crime in New Orleans’ most important tourist area. Crime in the city has always been astonishingly rampant, but usually that crime has been restricted to the poor areas of town.
Not anymore, thanks to the efforts of mayor Mitch Landrieu to work with the Justice Department and remake the New Orleans Police Department along the desires of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Now, tourists in the Quarter are being advised to travel in large groups, like gazelles and wildebeests in the African veldt.
It is interesting, in light of current developments, that ESPN chose to use the Warehouse District rather than the French Quarter as the site for its Sugar Bowl coverage. There is no particular indication that security concerns drove that decision, and the Warehouse District is a perfectly suitable location for a TV shoot, but it’s just one more indication of the French Quarter declining amid the violence there.
This is what a failed mayor looks like. Landrieu took over a city which was booming, and less than a year into his second term he can’t produce enough cops on the street to keep his primary tourist district safe enough to attract tourists.
What New Orleans desperately needs is a robust, beefed-up and permanent state police presence taking the lead in fighting crime. The federal government can’t be trusted to provide much assistance in law enforcement – not while Holder runs the Justice Department. And Landrieu’s record with respect to the NOPD is only marginally better than Warren Wilhelm’s in New York.