Editor’s Note: This piece serves as a companion to Scott McKay’s American Spectator column today defining a term we’ve used both there and here at The Hayride – Weaponized Governmental Failure. The concept is covered broadly in Chapter 3 of Scott’s book The Revivalist Manifesto, available at Amazon now.
New Orleans is one of the most interesting and unique cities in the world. There are reasons why international visitors flock to the Crescent City, including our jazz, food, festivals, fun, history, architecture, and culture. The mystique of New Orleans is unmatched anywhere in the United States. No doubt, the city marches to the beat of a different drummer.
No other city has Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest and colorful second line parades and the beauty of jazz funerals. We have cemeteries which are tourist attractions, as well as restaurants that are among the best in the world.
Unfortunately, the many positive attributes of the “City That Care Forgot” are being drowned out in a sea of violence, apathy, and filth. The beautiful city of New Orleans is facing a crisis unlike any in its 304-year history.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, economic miseries have crippled New Orleans as the tourism industry has been devastated. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell did not help matters by enforcing strict lockdowns, mandates and restrictions on residents and tourists.
In the last few years, homelessness, abandoned homes and poor street conditions have become worse. However, the biggest problem facing New Orleans is the lack of public safety. New Orleans has become the “Murder Capital” of the nation, ranking number one in America for homicides per capita.
There are many causes of this public safety disaster including a lax criminal justice system with progressive judges and a District Attorney elected with financial support from groups associated with the liberal mega donor George Soros. Other reasons include a legacy of broken families and failed schools, neighborhood blight, poverty, a high unemployment rate and crumbling infrastructure.
Nonetheless, the biggest reason for the crime epidemic is that New Orleans has a police force in shambles. While 1600 police officers represent a fully staffed department, New Orleans is having to cope with a department barely 50% of the needed size.
One factor leading to the exodus of NOPD officers is the ten-year federal consent decree, which has placed limits on the aggressive police work needed to deal with violent crime. It has also given undue power and oversight of the department to a federal judge.
The chaotic aftermath of the death of George Floyd did not help matters as some community activists called for the police department to be defunded. Since that time, violence against officers has been increasing across the country.
How did all these problems occur? It is simple, socialist Democratic Party policies do not work. In the last 150 years, only Democrats have ruled New Orleans. The last Republican Mayor of New Orleans, Benjamin Flanders, left office in 1872.
While Democrats usually have a strong advantage in New Orleans, their dominance is greater than ever today. The mayor, the entire city council, every state legislative position, every judge, every school board member, and every elected official of any type is a Democrat.
Republicans have zero power since they occupy no political offices in New Orleans. While some legislative seats with a few precincts in Orleans Parish are held by Republicans, GOP legislators occupy none of the seats that have a majority of voters in New Orleans.
Recent elections prove the dominance of the Democratic Party. In the 2019 Louisiana gubernatorial election, Republican Party candidate Eddie Rispone received a paltry 10% of the vote in New Orleans.
One-party rule can be dangerous for residents of a city like New Orleans. With minimal oversight from the Republican Party, Democrats have been able to dominate the political scene in the Big Easy and function as they please. This dominance has led to certain Democrat elected officials engaging in corrupt behavior that drew the attention of law enforcement.
In recent years, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and current New Orleans City Council member Oliver Thomas were convicted of crimes involving bribes and political corruption. Both served time in prison.
The current Mayor, LaToya Cantrell, is a tangle of ethical misconduct. As a candidate in her first mayoral election, it was reported that Cantrell misused city issued credit cards for personal use. After her election, it was discovered that Cantrell and her husband owed over $95,000 in federal income taxes and liens were placed on her home by the Internal Revenue Service.
In the last year, Cantrell has been dealing with one controversial issue after another. She was caught using a city owned apartment building as a personal residence without compensating the taxpayers for the rent. Even more egregious was her extravagant travel to at least ten destinations, including three international trips to France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
After public outcry, Cantrell canceled junkets to Singapore and Argentina, but she has still not reimbursed citizens for the first-class airfare and the five-star hotel accommodations from her recent international trips. She owes approximately $30,000 to the citizens for the luxury upgrades.
Mayor Cantrell is presiding over a city that has rampant crime and homelessness, as well as tremendous economic woes. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on those pressing issues, Cantrell is spending a tremendous amount of time participating in conferences and workshops devoted to progressive pet causes such as climate change, “sustainability,” “equity” and “resiliency.”
If a researcher asked the voters of New Orleans to rank the top problems facing the city, it is 100% guaranteed that the list would not include battling climate change and fostering sustainability, equity, and resiliency. None of the woke issues would be on the list. Instead, most people are trying to pay their bills and avoid being shot on streets that are akin to the “Wild, Wild West.”
Cantrell is totally disconnected with the problems of New Orleans, but, possibly, the criticism is having an impact. Her office just announced that she will not be personally traveling to a bogus climate change conference in Argentina but will be delivering her remarks virtually.
If only the problems of New Orleans were just virtual, instead they are all too real.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award-winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs Saturdays from Noon until 1 p.m. CT nationally on Real America’s Voice TV Network & AmericasVoice.News and weekdays from 7-11 a.m. CT 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]