Report from Louisiana: Landrieu Positions Himself for National Stage while NOLA Burns

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Report from Louisiana: Landrieu Positions Himself for National Stage while NOLA Burns

By: Pat Austin

SHREVE­PORT – Now that the Con­fed­er­ate era mon­u­ments have come down in New Orleans, one would expect the crime rate to drop as well, at least that is the case if you sub­scribe to the Mitch Lan­drieu the­ory of crime control.

But of course that is not the case and res­i­dents and sick and tired of it. Last week sur­veil­lance cam­eras caught an attack on video of two Boston tourists in the French Quar­ter. The attack was bru­tal and hard to watch, but it serves to show us that it’s not just in the neigh­bor­hoods where we expect there to be crime that this hap­pens. New Orleans is a city that is sup­ported in large part by tourism and when tourists go there they go to the French Quar­ter. If you’re not safe there…

What is the mayor of the city doing about this ram­pant law­less­ness in the city? Not a whole lot. He’s giv­ing speeches in south Florida at the Con­fer­ence of May­ors where he declared

So let’s be hon­est. In these moments of uncer­tain, chaotic and some­times frus­trat­ing times, the fam­i­lies we rep­re­sent can­not look to Wash­ing­ton for answers,” Lan­drieu said. “In this polit­i­cal cli­mate, we as may­ors must fight to occupy the rad­i­cal cen­ter, where ide­al­ism meets real­ity and where we put peo­ple over politics.”

He opened the Essence fes­ti­val which gave him yet another oppor­tu­nity to advo­cate for the removal of the mon­u­ments:

The mayor restated his posi­tion that though the Civil War was a brief period in the city’s his­tory, the mon­u­ments had lin­gered as sym­bols for too long and had no place on a con­tem­po­rary New Orleans pub­lic thor­ough­fares. He called the for­mer sit­u­a­tion “absurd.” He put a finer point of the sub­ject when he described the prox­im­ity of the now-​removed Robert E. Lee statue to the Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. “Just think about it for a moment,” he said, “hav­ing the Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments stand less than 300 yards from where the Essence Fes­ti­val meets, that jux­ta­po­si­tion seems like it just doesn’t work.”

While Lan­drieu is posi­tion­ing him­self for a national bid of some sort when his term ends later this year, the city is in the grips of a ter­ri­ble crime wave which is cer­tain to affect tourism. This has noth­ing to do with mon­u­ments of course, but more with the fact that Lan­drieu has refused to pay police offi­cers a decent wage and imple­mented a two year hir­ing freeze on police offi­cers which dropped num­bers by 400 offi­cers, a 40-​year low.

As of this writ­ing, there have been 96 mur­ders (many more shoot­ings, mug­gings, rob­beries, rapes, etc.) in 2017 as com­pared with a total of 175 in 2016. The num­bers are higher each month this year than in com­pa­ra­ble months for 2016.

Res­i­dents are sick of it.

James Hart­man, writ­ing for The Hayride blog, says

The French Quar­ter is safer, right? It’s the tourist area so it has extra pro­tec­tion. It has extra taxes to pay for State Police pro­tec­tion, because while Lan­drieu told NOPD he couldn’t pay them more or hire more of them, he sim­ply added a tax to hire state offi­cials – an inex­plic­a­ble para­dox. It’s the area that has bar­ri­cades to pre­vent Nice– and London-​style attacks on inno­cents. We’re sup­posed to be safe there, right?

No. We’re sup­posed to be safe everywhere.

Real­is­ti­cally, of course, that’s not pos­si­ble. Crime hap­pens, and it hap­pens every­where. What should not be hap­pen­ing, how­ever, is that a city is so over­run with law­less­ness that peo­ple are beaten nearly to death in the streets, that lit­er­ally hun­dreds of peo­ple are shot – fatally or inju­ri­ously — or that chil­dren catch stray bul­lets while thugs roam free. What shouldn’t hap­pen is that the leader of a rel­a­tively major city gives speeches 1,000 miles away in which he says that stat­ues are “vir­tual mur­ders,” that the Paris Accords are the respon­si­bil­ity of America’s cities now, that Rus­sians inter­fered with the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion (and, there­fore, with his appoint­ment to a Cab­i­net post).

As Lan­drieu posi­tions him­self on the national stage in the com­ing months we need to know the kind of leader he is. Under his tenure a once beau­ti­ful, thriv­ing, unique city is some­what dimin­ished. It will take more than Mitch Lan­drieu to kill New Orleans, but he cer­tainly has done her no favors.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreve­port.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Now that the Confederate era monuments have come down in New Orleans, one would expect the crime rate to drop as well, at least that is the case if you subscribe to the Mitch Landrieu theory of crime control.

But of course that is not the case and residents and sick and tired of it.  Last week surveillance cameras caught an attack on video of two Boston tourists in the French Quarter. The attack was brutal and hard to watch, but it serves to show us that it’s not just in the neighborhoods where we expect there to be crime that this happens. New Orleans is a city that is supported in large part by tourism and when tourists go there they go to the French Quarter.  If you’re not safe there…

What is the mayor of the city doing about this rampant lawlessness in the city?  Not a whole lot.  He’s giving speeches in south Florida at the Conference of Mayors where he declared

“So let’s be honest. In these moments of uncertain, chaotic and sometimes frustrating times, the families we represent cannot look to Washington for answers,” Landrieu said. “In this political climate, we as mayors must fight to occupy the radical center, where idealism meets reality and where we put people over politics.”

He opened the Essence festival which gave him yet another opportunity to advocate for the removal of the monuments:

The mayor restated his position that though the Civil War was a brief period in the city’s history, the monuments had lingered as symbols for too long and had no place on a contemporary New Orleans public thoroughfares. He called the former situation “absurd.” He put a finer point of the subject when he described the proximity of the now-removed Robert E. Lee statue to the Convention Center.  “Just think about it for a moment,” he said, “having the Confederate monuments stand less than 300 yards from where the Essence Festival meets, that juxtaposition seems like it just doesn’t work.”

While Landrieu is positioning himself for a national bid of some sort when his term ends later this year, the city is in the grips of a terrible crime wave which is certain to affect tourism. This has nothing to do with monuments of course, but more with the fact that Landrieu has refused to pay police officers a decent wage and implemented a two year hiring freeze on police officers which dropped numbers by 400 officers, a 40-year low.

As of this writing, there have been 96 murders (many more shootings, muggings, robberies, rapes, etc.) in 2017 as compared with a total of 175 in 2016.  The numbers are higher each month this year than in comparable months for 2016.

Residents are sick of it.

James Hartman, writing for The Hayride blog, says

The French Quarter is safer, right?  It’s the tourist area so it has extra protection. It has extra taxes to pay for State Police protection, because while Landrieu told NOPD he couldn’t pay them more or hire more of them, he simply added a tax to hire state officials – an inexplicable paradox.  It’s the area that has barricades to prevent Nice- and London-style attacks on innocents.  We’re supposed to be safe there, right?

No.  We’re supposed to be safe everywhere.

Realistically, of course, that’s not possible.  Crime happens, and it happens everywhere.  What should not be happening, however, is that a city is so overrun with lawlessness that people are beaten nearly to death in the streets, that literally hundreds of people are shot – fatally or injuriously—or that children catch stray bullets while thugs roam free.  What shouldn’t happen is that the leader of a relatively major city gives speeches 1,000 miles away in which he says that statues are “virtual murders,” that the Paris Accords are the responsibility of America’s cities now, that Russians interfered with the presidential election (and, therefore, with his appointment to a Cabinet post).

As Landrieu positions himself on the national stage in the coming months we need to know the kind of leader he is. Under his tenure a once beautiful, thriving, unique city is somewhat diminished. It will take more than Mitch Landrieu to kill New Orleans, but he certainly has done her no favors.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.