By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT — I’ve done a lot of ranting and raving in this space over the past months about the rising crime rate in New Orleans. I don’t live in New Orleans, but the city is one of our top tourist spots in the state and is known for many wonderful things like music, a diverse and fascinating culture and history, beignets, Mardi Gras, the best food in the world, and on it goes. The city (and our state for that matter) has certainly had its share of corrupt and/or inept leaders through the years, and Mitch Landrieu certainly falls into the inept category in my opinion.
Landrieu’s focus has been on things like removing Confederate monuments and building Equity Circles instead of fighting the rising crime rate in his city. Infrastructure crumbles, citizens grumble, but Landrieu continues with his own agenda.
The Advocate reported last week that as of this point, 400 people have been shot in New Orleans. And I’ve often pointed you to the murder map, which as of this morning tells us that 103 murders have occurred in the city this year. This makes New Orleans one of the most dangerous places in the country. Simply unacceptable.
All that being said, there is no shortage of crime in my part of the state, either. The City of Shreveport, also led by a Democrat mayor, for what that’s worth, is in a spiral of crime and daily shootings; there is much senseless violence in this town.
Not a day goes by when we don’t wake up or turn on the news to hear of another shooting or murder. And what’s our mayor working on? She’s lobbying to build a new arena (we already have two, by the way) in hope of recruiting a D-league basketball team to town (a couple of which have come and gone for lack of support).
The latest act of senseless violence in Shreveport occurred Saturday night at a Mexican restaurant. The family is known and much loved by loyal customers. The parents are immigrants, they and the kids are hard-working. The children have assimilated beautifully: one attends Baylor Law School and another Louisiana Tech University. The father died tragically last year so they’ve struggled onward, the boy left school to help run the restaurant with his family. They are a beautiful example of the American Dream and what you can attain through hard work and dedication.
Saturday night, the boy’s mother was leaving the restaurant around 11 p.m. Two thugs were waiting for her outside and demanded her purse. She screamed and her son, Juan, ran to her defense. The armed robbers shot him two times in the chest. He’s now in critical condition and has had his right lung removed. It’s a horrible tragedy.
But what are we worried about? A basketball arena. Our city is working under a huge shortage in the police department, much like New Orleans.
I’m not sure what the answer is: if it’s the mismanagement of city resources, the lack of jobs and a struggling economy, or maybe we are just more aware of these things these days. Maybe it’s a combination of all of this and more. We still have our Confederate monument – maybe that’s what it is.
What I do know is that the wide open spaces of neighboring Texas is looking better to me every day. Give me five acres of land in the middle of nowhere, a few cows, a couple of goats, some dogs, and I’ll be perfectly happy.
I don’t want to live in a city where young, bright kids with a fine work ethic is shot down for defending his mother.
I don’t want any part of it.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.