By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – So many conflicting emotions and stories on my news feed this morning. It’s enough to make one just pull the plug, put the house up for sale, and move out to the most rural, off the grid place you can find.
On the one hand, JOY! It’s the first day of school! Precious back-to-school pictures fill my social media feed of little children with big backpacks and happy smiles.
On the other hand, I also see one post after another of cancelled festivals and events due to the Covid surge. New Orleans has cancelled JazzFest, again. Everyone worries about Mardi Gras – will it happen or not? Many other small, local festivals are announcing cancellations: the KBON Music Festival, the Delcambre Shrimp Festival, and Festival Acadiens et Créoles was rescheduled to the spring. The Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival and the Scott Boudin Festival also cancelled. The list continues to grow.
But school is fine, apparently, as is packed arenas for music concerts, and sports events.
It doesn’t add up.
In addition to all of this, on a more local level, we had at least three homicides in Shreveport yesterday several more shootings on top of that, one high-speed chase, and one elderly woman was stabbed sixteen times in the face and neck.
We may have topped 60 homicides for the year here yesterday, and we still have four more months to go. It isn’t getting any better, we had no leadership, and nobody willing to do anything to stop this violence. Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins has posted nothing but Covid vaccination and information on his social media feed for as far back as I can stand to scroll; not a word about the daily shootings and killings.
It all just makes you think. You know, last week we were in a small community and nobody got shot, stabbed, or tried to kill a policeman. We could take an evening walk through town, leave our front doors unlocked, and not worry about getting robbed or mugged. People in these smaller communities know each other, they go to church together, the family unit is tight. That’s not to say they don’t have their problems, they do. Many rural communities across our country have terrible drug problems, young people bored with nothing to do, and their own unique issues.
There is no Utopia.
But after yesterday’s bloodbath here, it does make one long for a quieter community.
I don’t know what the answers are, and I know that Shreveport is far from unique in its crime problems. All I know for sure is that an answer must be found. We spend a lot of time throwing blame and not enough time working for solutions, it seems. And maybe that’s all I’m doing here; I just know I no longer wish to live in this city where human life apparently has absolutely no value and our leaders are silent about it.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.