HARTMAN: Welcome To New Orleans, Where You Can Play Real-Life Jeopardy!

Welcome to Jeopardy!, the one which isn’t a game. The category is, Crime in the Crescent City.

Who put a two-year hiring freeze on the Police Department, resulting in a severe shortage of law enforcement professionals?

Answer:  Who was Landrieu?

We have a winner.


Who convinced the City Council to approve a budget cutting $600,000 from the District Attorney because he was “prosecuting too many cases?”

Answer:  Who was Landrieu?



Who shows up at major crime scenes and talks about the need for a “change in our culture”?

Answer:  Who is Landrieu?

Yes!  And you remain in control of the board.


Who spent $3,000 apiece on solar-powered trash cans, money that could’ve been allocated to public safety?

Answer:  Who was Landrieu?


Who allocated $40 million for “public safety initiatives” that included bollards, metal roadblocks and increased parking enforcement?

Answer:  Who was Landrieu?


The game could go on forever, or at least until Mitch Landrieu leaves the mayor’s office late next spring.  Alas, it’s no game.  With more than 300 people shot year-to-date in New Orleans, 13 of them on Saturday, June 3, alone, it’s too late.  For seven years, hizzoner has been talking a good game about crimefighting, crime prevention, gun violence, and the like.  He’s let people blame the NOPD, blame the D.A., and he himself blames the “culture” of the city.

No, sir.  Sorry.  We have some lovely parting gifts for you.  The “culture of New Orleans” is music, jazz, festivals.  It’s fun, excess, frivolity.  The dysfunction of New Orleans stems from City Hall, and it’s misleading and disingenuous to blame the crime wave – an interminable one, it seems – on “culture.”  This is about incompetence and ineptitude, misplaced priorities and mismanagement.  This is about spending money on bike lanes and solar trash cans and the “Streetcar to Nowhere” along Rampart Street instead of on your own police department and community relations.  It’s about playing politics with people’s lives because no matter what you say, it’s quite clear that you JUST. DON’T. CARE.

At Sunday’s press conference with Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, the two promised reallocation of NOPD resources to “certain areas.”  What resources?  What areas?   He blamed the crime on easy access to drugs and alcohol.  Drugs, I get, but alcohol?  Really?

Professional cops in New Orleans tell me that only about 300 people in the city commit 90 percent of the crimes and – get this – THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE.   Why aren’t they in jail?  Easy answer:  Lack of cops, a politicized judiciary that releases violent felons on bond far too easily, an underfunded D.A., and a Parish Jail that leaks like a sieve.  There aren’t enough police officers to go around, there aren’t enough prosecutors to handle them, and there aren’t enough good judges who will hold criminals accountable.  More to the point, there aren’t enough voters who will hold the elected “leaders” of the city accountable because everyone is engaged in the same “finger-pointing” the mayor lamented today. The effect: everybody in the city is in jeopardy.

Well, sir, if one is finger pointing to say, “nanny-nanny boo-boo,” yeah, that’s ineffective.  If someone – you know, a leader – is working to identify the cause of a problem so he can fix it, THAT kind of finger-pointing makes sense.  Go stand in front of a mirror and practice your best finger-pointing, boss.  And … there ya go.

No one can convince me this is about “too many guns.”  CNN aired a special June 4 about the proliferation of guns in the United States.  They plugged it with, “There are more guns than people in the United States.  How can you feel safe?”  Well, guess what?  I have a gun.  I live less than 30 miles from New Orleans in a community that is just as gun-ridden as New Orleans with a population of about 250,000.   We have, on a bad year, a couple dozen shootings a year.  A YEAR.  I feel just fine, thanks.  In New Orleans, it’s the end of the world as we know it.

As I left church in Uptown New Orleans this afternoon, I got a push alert about the level of violence in the Crescent City this weekend.  I usually stay in the city on Sundays, dining with friends, enjoying the French Quarter, and staying at my downtown apartment – the one I’ve sworn to give up soon.  I read that news alert and I came home.  Straight home. I prefer seeing jeopardy on TV, not the streets.

The mayor is not directly responsible for the violence.  He didn’t pull any of those triggers.  He is vicariously liable, in my opinion, because of his complete lack of leadership, misplaced spending, prolific lip service, and downright lunacy.  I honestly don’t know why citizens of New Orleans haven’t filed a federal lawsuit for violation of their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  If he or someone doesn’t get a handle on this, however, it may only be a matter of time before the city becomes militarized – not by militias, not by the state police, but by federal authorities sent to restore order.

That’s something no one wants, but in the current political environment it’s not out of the realm of possibility.  If that happens, we’re all in even worse jeopardy.

Responsible Parties for $500, please.

Mayor whose incompetence led to chaos and federal takeover of local government.

Answer: Who was Landrieu?


It could happen.  It’s no joke.  The jeopardy is real.

(Full disclosure:  I have only seen the CNN teaser, and probably won’t watch it, so my characterization of the piece is based only on their promotions.)

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