It’s inexplicable. How did we get here? What has happened to The Big Easy? A city known for its culture, food, parties, music, and good times is not what it used to be. We’re no longer the city that care forget. No, now New Orleans is known as a very dangerous place to live, visit, and as of late even drive through.
How bad is it? Bad. Very bad. Ask the Dixon family from Hattiesburg, Mississippi fresh off their vacation overseas. Traveling home from the New Orleans airport they might as well been going through the war torn neighborhoods of Somalia.
There’s Dad and Mom up front and kids in the back seat driving along I-10 just past the High Rise heading east. A storm is brewing. The Dixons are trying to make their way home before the heavy stuff hits. There’s lightning, strong winds, heavy rain, and all of sudden out of nowhere their car is struck three times with bullets. Why? How could this happen? Who would do such a thing? If only it were an anomaly. It isn’t.
More than 21 times people traveling along I-10 through New Orleans have been shot at since 2016. The Dixons are far from being alone. When it comes to violence New Orleans is making Chicago look like Lewiston, Idaho.
Katie Dixon told WWL, “Seeing that the shots were aimed actually at me in the passenger seat, that could have missed me and hit my girls in the back.”
You know violence in New Orleans is out of control when kids are getting hurt. Just last month a 1-year old was taken to the hospital after suffering an injury from shattered glass caused from a bullet. The 1-year old was traveling on I-10 near the Poydras Street exit. A 1-year old old, for God’s sake! The Dixon kids were fortunate.
What are we to make of a city that can’t even protect its kids? A Central City woman in February was killed by a stray bullet while relaxing in her home. It was the same block a 2-year old child was killed by a stray bullet in 2010. It’s also the same neighborhood a 1-year old girl was killed by a stray bullet in 2013 as her babysitter held her in her arms.
The shootings in New Orleans are now reaching every inch of the city including the interstate. But what would you expect when in the past year there have been 718 shootings. The city’s running out of violence-free real estate.
All crime is up. Armed robbery, rape, carjacking. Mayor Landrieu has gutted the police force by a third since taking office. We are all paying the price now.
Living in such a violent city changes you. People are not as open with each other or friendly. Take the 23-year old woman with a kind heart driving along Baronne Street in Central City on Tuesday. She stopped to help after she noticed a woman fall down and hit her head. The young woman got out of her car offering the use of her cell phone to call for help. But then police say the women began to assault her punching her twice in the head. The woman then took the good Samaritan’s keys and drove off with her car. Police are calling it a carjacking. Do you think the good Samaritan will think twice about helping someone again in this the most violent of cities?
The obvious question is how is it Mayor Landrieu focuses on removing statues, preserving a sanctuary city for illegals, climate change, the Tricentennial celebration, punishing Airbnb home owners, traffic cameras, opining on the Senate’s health care reform bill or anything else as the city he runs is so dangerous you can no longer drive through it with your kids and maintain peace of mind.
Is it fair to demand Mr. Landrieu wake up each morning with one thing and one thing only on his plate? Making New Orleans a safe place to live, visit, and drive with your kids on the interstate again.
Dan Fagan is a former television news reporter, journalism professor, newspaper columnist, and radio talk show host. He grew up in New Orleans and currently lives there. He is a regular contributor for The Hayride. If you have a news tip for Mr. Fagan you can reach him at [email protected] or 504-458-2542.