There is no city like New Orleans in the world. Since its founding 304 years ago, New Orleans has remained utterly unique. No other city can compare to the beauty, the food, the attractions, the festivals, or the architecture of New Orleans.
With a fascinating history impacted by so many cultures, New Orleans continues to entice tourists from around the world to visit.
Unfortunately, the pandemic decimated the city’s major industry of hospitality and tourism. The prospects for a quick recovery are slim as the horrific crime problems of New Orleans are becoming national news.
This crisis should be leading the citizens of New Orleans to demand action from their elected officials. Unfortunately, for the past several years, the overwhelming response from citizens has been heartbreaking apathy.
The people of New Orleans love the Saints, Mardi Gras, and the Jazz Festival more than anything else. They love a good party and good times. There is budding excitement about the upcoming parades and people are ready for Mardi Gras 2022 after last year’s absence.
Unfortunately, these issues of interest are utterly trivial. People in New Orleans focus on the entertainment and the diversions instead of the horrific reality.
New Orleans is a total disaster right now. Crime is completely out of control with car jackings, armed robberies, shootings, and murders in the beginning of 2022 already higher than the record setting levels at this point in 2021.
Last year was an especially dangerous one in New Orleans. In 2021, there were 218 murders in New Orleans, an 8% increase from the previous year. It was the highest murder total since before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when almost 100,00 more people lived in the city. It also marked the second year in a row with a significant increase in the murder rate.
New Orleans has had a violent crime problem for decades. Tragically, the city has regularly been ranked as one of the murder capitals of the nation.
According to the personal finance website, WalletHub, New Orleans has suffered through the highest per capita increase in homicide in the country since the start of the pandemic. WalletHub reported that there were “18 homicides per 100,000 residents in Q2 2021, which topped the list, as did its 7.42 homicide increase since Q2 2019.”
Similar data is also being reported by residents of New Orleans. In the annual Crime Coalition survey, New Orleans residents testified that the city is becoming even more unsafe. In the 2020 survey, “57 percent of residents said the city was safe. In the 2021 survey, only 35 percent say it’s safe – that’s a 22-point drop.”
The reasons for the violent crime in New Orleans are longstanding and multi-faceted such as broken families and the lack of discipline in public schools. The new District Attorney has a much more lenient approach to dealing with criminals than his “law and order” predecessor. Also, the Orleans Parish criminal justice system has been particularly ineffective in handling juvenile offenders, who comprise a major percentage of these violent offenses.
Another problem is the shortage of officers in the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). Sadly, it is leading to many unsolved murders. Of the 218 murders last year, NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson reported that there were only seventy arrests and twenty indictments. Thus, most of the murderers are still at large roaming the streets of New Orleans.
The shortage of police officers began during the last mayoral administration when budget cuts resulted in the cancellation of new recruitment classes of officers. The deficit has never been addressed since that time.
Unfortunately, the deficit is only getting worse as many officers have taken retirement or left for nearby departments, such as the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Last year, over 150 officers left the NOPD, while only forty-four new recruits were added to the department.
Currently, the city has about 1100 police officers, but to provide safety to citizens and tourists alike, law enforcement experts contend there needs to be approximately 1600 officers.
At election time last year, the citizens of New Orleans had a chance to tackle these problems and make political changes. Incredibly, only 28% of the electorate bothered to vote. If poor streets, horrible infrastructure, flooding issues, terrible schools, out of control crime, corruption, blight, record homelessness, poverty, and an illegal drug crisis could not motivate more people to vote, nothing will.
In the 2021 elections, the citizens of New Orleans returned to the City Council a convicted felon. A District Attorney under federal indictment was elected. Leftwing mega donors George Soros and Mark Zuckerberg helped elect a new Criminal Sheriff who will pursue a socialist agenda.
In addition, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who has displayed total incompetence during her first term, was re-elected with 65% of the vote. Nothing will change in her next four years, in fact, it may get worse.
Mayor Cantrell is more concerned about school children over the age of five being masked and vaccinated than criminals roaming the streets. Her precious, but unconstitutional vaccine mandate, which has negatively impacted scores of businesses, including restaurants, will be applied to all riders of floats during Mardi Gras.
The mask and vaccine police will have to enforce unconstitutional mandates while the prominent issues of life and death are being ignored. Thus, the citizens and tourists will be safe from COVID-19, but they may very well be gunned down walking to their vehicle or car jacked while pumping gas.
It is so bad that mothers are resorting to putting bumper sticks on their vehicles asking criminals not to car jack them with their children inside. Sadly, criminals do not care about preserving precious human life. Most of these violent offenders have not been properly educated or disciplined. They only understand crime.
It was so disturbing that a “Peace Rally” was held on Monday and several hundred people gathered in front of City Hall. This protest was organized by the friends and family of a woman who was brutally car jacked at Costco in New Orleans while pumping gas. Incredibly, as this poor victim was being treated by a good Samaritan doctor, a nearby motorist was upset that the gas pump was being blocked.
The lack of respect for human life is not just limited to the criminals but extends to average citizens. Until the citizens of New Orleans start to value innocent human life and demand real penalties for criminals, there will be no functioning city, and nothing will change.
Tourists who visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras will be entering a Twilight Zone, another dimension. In this altered version of reality, political leaders focus on diversions and health mandates, while their productive taxpayers are either leaving the city or being victimized by criminals.
Mayor Cantrell has destroyed the economy of New Orleans with two years of mandates and lockdowns. It survives only on federal money. No one is even trying to recruit new businesses or people to move to New Orleans. Who would want to move to a city with no services, no safety, and no leadership?
Another crisis is that productive citizens are leaving due to the violent crime epidemic that has gotten worse in the last few years. It is the major reason so many people no longer call New Orleans home.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs nationally on Real America’s Voice Network, AmericasVoice.News weekdays at 7 a.m. CT and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America’s Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on Crouere.net. For more information, email him at [email protected]