Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans sat down yesterday to talk about violent crime in the city.
Within the discussion, Landrieu mentioned that New Orleans’ tourist areas, like the French Quarter, are essentially as safe as any city. Here’s the full excerpt from Landrieu:
“Is your city safe?” Landrieu said. “It depends. If you are a tourist coming into town … and you’re coming to my city and you want to come enjoy it, you’re as safe in my city as any place in the world. But if you’re a young African-American man, and you have had a problem getting a job, and you’ve had some interaction with the criminal justice system, and you live in one of four neighborhoods, you’re an endangered species. And by the way, this is an epidemic. All over America, in every city, in five-six-seven neighborhoods, you get into an issue where you have a huge problem — and that’s the essential problem I’m trying to solve.”
However, crime for tourists can be even worse, as violent criminals often times seek out individuals who appear to be tourists, which is why many are advised to not wear Mardi Gras beads about their neck unless it is Mardi Gras season.
Also, tourists usually are not aware of the crime-ridden blocks in the French Quarter and sometimes end up getting lost in bad areas, making them more susceptible to violent crime.
In fact, tourists injured or killed in New Orleans have swept headlines for years, especially while Landrieu has been Mayor.
Last year, concern grew when tourist areas in the city when violent crimes seemed to skyrocket in those areas.
There were multiple daylight shootings along Canal Street in 2014, like when a woman was shot getting off of a streetcar and a man was shot in a drive-by shooting on Frenchmen Street.
Tourists were also involved in many of the Bourbon Street shootings in 2014 and in 2013, a French tourist was involved in one of the handful of Halloween shootings in the French Quarter.
And in 2013, an Irish man visiting the city with his father was shot and killed in the 7th Ward when he refused to hand over his wallet to a violent criminal.
Of course, Landrieu seemed conservative when it came to crime in New Orleans compared to The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates.
At one point, Landrieu said that the black community has to take personal responsibility for black-on-black crime. Here’s what Landrieu said:
“It’s all of our responsibilities to fix it,” Landrieu said. “There are institutions in how we deal with things that have to change, from discrimination to jobs to redlining neighborhoods. But there’s also a lot of personal responsibility in this as well. … If I knocked you off the chair last week, that’s on me. But if I come back and you’re still on the floor next week, that’s on you. … If the African-American community waits around for folks in the white community who don’t know anybody to fix the problem, that’s not how it’s going to get fixed.”
Coates, though, scoffed at the statement, saying this:
“I don’t think that’s actually what’s happening,” Coates later said. “Black people are struggling mightily in a situation that was put upon them. … The people who have lapsed, in terms of their debt to African-Americans as citizens, is us as a society and as a government. There’s no history of a lack of responsibility among black folks.”
Naturally, Landrieu backtracked on his statement a little bit, saying that he would like to see the country unite against black-on-black crime, saying that he was not trying to say that the black community has not done anything about crime in their communities.
Watch the full video here: