THE SEARING OF A GREAT CITY’S SOUL!
Monday, September 12th, 2022
New Orleans, Louisiana
THE SEARING OF A GREAT CITY’S SOUL!
(New Orleans a war zone)
The real estate website Home Bay just released its national rankings of the best places in the U.S. to retire. So where is the number one location? Are you ready for this? Numero Uno is the murder capital of America. That’s right. They list New Orleans as the best place to retire. Has this group been paying attention to what’s going on in the Crescent City?
Here’s what’s happening. The Queen City of the South is under siege. No, not from hurricanes. This time, the siege is from within. New Orleans is known as the city that care forgot. But it’s been hard to let the good times roll in the Big Easy when the dice keep coming up snake eyes.
New Orleans is in a battle to stay afloat as it deals with major street crime, inept public officials, and a dysfunctional criminal justice system where even federal officials can no longer be trusted. Author James Lee Burke writes about this corruption and dysfunction in his novel Last Car to Elysian Fields. “One of the most beautiful cities in the Western hemisphere was killed three times, and not just by forces of nature.”
New Orleans is a city that for years has had the highest per capita murder rate in the nation, where multiple killings often happen on a daily basis, a town that is rated as one of the five most dangerous cities in the world. But even with such a reputation, it was hard to fathom the recent crime wave that attacked the Crescent City. Recently, in just two weeks, 39 people were shot, including 4 children. Over 22 shootings in just a few weeks; a war zone. Such violence goes beyond the street shootings that seem to happen almost daily in New Orleans. When a gunman indiscriminately fires into a crowd, it’s an act of terrorism.
Many crimes go unreported out of the sense of frustration that nobody will do anything about it anyway. Drug deals gone bad play a major role in a majority of the killings according to the New Orleans Police Department. The city is a cesspool of illegal drug activity in many neighborhoods, even in broad daylight. Recently, I watched the Tom Cruise movie “Jack Reacher: Never go Back,” that was made in the Crescent City. A local drug dealer tells Cruise: “More s–t in the streets of New Orleans then they make in Afghanistan.”
New Orleans has always pushed the limit of what is acceptable to those running government and to its citizens. The city is often referred to as a corrupt third world country and the most northern of the Caribbean nations. But in recent years, the bottom seems to have fallen out of the criminal justice system itself.
In the movie called Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Nicolas Cage plays a corrupt New Orleans cop, and tells a fellow cop to “Shoot him again.” “What for?” says his companion. Cage casually observes: “His soul is still dancing.” You can’t kill enough in New Orleans. It is the murder capital of America with one of the worst murder rates in the world. And the killings continue at an ever-growing frequency.
The system that is supposed to protect the citizens of New Orleans is rife with corruption and incompetence. In too many instances, those who are charged with safeguarding and serving have betrayed their mission to see that the public is protected, and that justice is done. A report in The New Statesman observes: “Something terrible lies at the heart of New Orleans – a rampant, widespread and apparently uncontrollable brutality on the part of its police force and its prison service. The horrors of its criminal justice system from decades before Katrina and up to now lie somewhere between, with little exaggeration, Candide and Stalin’s Gulags.”
New Orleans can be either a unique place to live and work, or it can slowly drift into the cosmos due to a justified fear of crime. There’s a fight to keep the bright, dynamic young leadership in the city and be an integral force in molding the future of New Orleans. But it all begins with feeling safe, doesn’t it? And right now, the Crescent City has a long, long way to go.
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the South and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownla.com. You can also look over a list of books he has published at www.thelisburnpress.com.