BATISTE: Sister Cities, Busted Marriages And A Steep Decline

The city of New Orleans appears to be spiraling down to new levels of putridity, and Mayor LaToya Cantrell is in France on official business. She has much to do in the city she is employed to run. Maybe she needs to escape the city because back in New Orleans, the same issues worsen: violence, crime, and municipal neglect. Just looking around town shows a very, very poorly run government and a city in alarming decline. 


The Department of Public Works faces difficult challenges each day. However, each day they do not make progress, the city decays. WWL-TV reported last month on the two dozen intersections with flashing traffic lights. According to DPW, the repairs “are too complex for DPW crews to complete,” they need contractor support. The contractor work was set to begin July 11th


Several school zone signs flash yellow lights—indicating school zones are in effect—despite it being mid July! They flash daily, causing drivers to instinctively pump their brakes. Those flashing school zone lights have a dual function: they remind everyone how poorly managed the city of New Orleans remains.  


Some intersections flash red lights in two directions then yellow lights in the other two directions, creating a pending calamity. Your average driver approaching the flashing red lights may think the cross street also has a flashing red, and thus not realize the intersecting traffic does not need to come to a full stop. This is a safety hazard. When a previous mayor stepped back from the public spotlight, the Times Picayune’s columnist Chris Rose called the mayor out: 

“Is it too much to expect the barest hint of leadership, like maybe tell folks not to litter anymore or maybe explain that a blinking red light means stop but the yellow means proceed with caution? Something. Anything. A word of leadership. A touch of wisdom. A glimmer of hope for the hungry masses?” 

Now, the city has a reputed party girl in charge. She’s behaving on the bar scene as if she was trying to chase that feeling from March 2020 through March 2022 when she was drunk on power. Seen all around town in 2021 and 2022 under the influence, often violating her own COVID-19 rules strictly imposed on the lowly people who work to financially support her. If she was running a nonprofit, this behavior would be embarrassing—as the top official for a major American city, it is beyond embarrassing that she so often shows her butt in public. 


Meanwhile the local media seem to be too interested in cheerleading to challenge the elected public official. All the problems in the city, and makes 2022 statements such as: “The mayor’s resolute leadership and plainspoken defenses of her decisions both challenged and inspired New Orleans.” 


The big local news gatherer stated the above while she galivanted around town maskless, hosted her mayor’s ball without masks despite her commanding the city’s residents and youths to wear masks. One recent question about crime and a flock of reporters were browbeaten to stay on topic. And like trained circus animals, they listened. The paid figurehead for a city of 300,000 refuses to answer questions about the city. 


Rumors swirl about the mayor’s marriage and, of course, her tax situation. Her behavior pops up on social media about once per month. Yet the Leftist media obeys her commands to heel. It’s almost as if the New Orleans media is disconnected from the people. All parts of the city rant about LaToya Cantrell and her entire persona as a mayor and citizen, yet the establishment media treats the mayor exactly how she acts: entitled above criticism. 


Want to talk crime? The NOPD is a depleted police force. What about the G. W. Carver graduation brawl? Or the Morris Jeff graduation shooting that killed three, including a student’s grandmother? What about the car shows? The car break ins? The murders and shootings? Now home invasions? New Orleans has had more than 145 murders reported thus far in 2022. In 2021 and 2022, 44 shootings occurred on interstates and highways (I10, I610 and Pontchartrain Expressway) within the city. According to a recent story, not a single arrest has been made in the interstate shootings. This week alone, a dog killed a toddler in Pontchartrain Park and a 2 year old was shot, allegedly self-inflicted, with a stolen gun outside of Costco. This is unfortunately happening and for all to witness and the citizens collectively act like the person sitting in their chair watching in disbelief as the house burns around them. 


For the Costco incident in which a 2 year old allegedly shot himself with his a stolen gun in the possession of an 18 year old, Cantrell issued a statement that seems to assign exclusive blame to people who have had their firearms stolen, not the thieves and not this teenager who left his stolen pistol in the car with his two year old brother. 


The federal consent decree needs to be dropped. That experiment failed, leadership has changed, it is time to let police be police. 


The pumps almost completely work—rain storm—except these. Neutral ground parking is a way of life because the city’s drainage system has been neglected by three mayors and counting (Nagin, Landrieu, Cantrell). Buildings and infrastructure are vandalized with more and more graffiti. What is the plan for the homeless population?  


These are very real issues, and issues that government should be addressing in order to make the city not just inhabitable, but enhanced, to attract other residents and businesses so it will continue on for another 300 years.  


But wait—the city wants more involvement in our lives with Crescent City Cards. The goal is for the Crescent City Card to serve as an official government ID while covering universal basic income, banking services, access to emergency government funds, access to public transportation, libraries, and city recreation centers. If one thing is certain, no one should be allowing the city government to have more control over their personal lives. 


Meanwhile, as the city crumbles, Mayor Cantrell sure does enjoy travel. She’s in France now signing a sister city agreement. Last month she was in Switzerland signing a sister city agreement. Last year it was a non-essential trip to the British Virgin Islands. 2019 it was Cuba in what was said to be “both publicly and privately funded” and also Ghana, that trip included a sister city agreement. No word yet on the funding and travel groups accompanying Cantrell on her European stops. 


The bottom line is New Orleans, as a municipal government, does not function as a city typically should. The old attitude of residents that, we put up with a lot of inefficiencies to live here because New Orleans is a great place, no longer makes it palatable—the risks are too extreme. People can watch on social media and witness, sometimes, a live look into a city decaying. Like one of the dilapidated old homes scattered throughout the city, New Orleans needs to be gutted and rebuilt because right now the roof leaks, the floorboards are rotten, the windows are busted out, the yard is overgrown, the walls are overrun by wasps and termites, and it’s filled with homeless drug addicts and dead bodies.  


New Orleans is in a downward spiral. The mystery is whether it recently started down, has been on the path for decades, or is nearing bottom. Only time will tell this story, however, it seems apparent that the city still has room to lower the standards of civilized life before hitting rock bottom. But with LaToya Cantrell, Jason Williams, and Susan Hutson in power, the fall will certainly lack grace. In the not too distant future, those sister cities may not claim New Orleans. 

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