As with most diatribes, a solution to the problem will not be found herein. It is hopeful that greater minds will find a path of relief, and I pray they will.
For many years I have been a frequent visitor to New Orleans. Most of my visits have been to the French Quarter, Marigny, often with excursions to other neighborhoods for food, drink and music — the life’s blood of New Orleans. Over the years, the violence and decadence have been less a turn-off than more recently. Having one’s pocket picked, even being close to a shooting, were not such a threat as to prevent my return to this wonderful city.
More brazen, however, has the lawlessness become, to the extent that my visits are less frequent. A pocket picking in the French Quarter isn’t all that bad, but when compared to a kidnapping/rape in an Uptown neighborhood, and repeated violent crimes in the busy tourist areas, it is time to stop and reconsider.
Is there a destination less enjoyable, but safer — one less threatening? Likely, I am not the only tourist to ponder this question.
On Sunday, 19 people were wounded in a shootout during a Mothers’ Day second-line parade in the 7th Ward. In the recent past there have been several shooting incidents and violent crimes on Bourbon Street, once the safest place in town for tourists. Only a week or so ago, Brett Will Taylor wrote of a gunfight in front of his Treme home. Today the violence rose to a higher level than Brett’s chilling experience.
Blatant lawlessness was not tolerated even in the wild West. Hired guns were brought in and given sheriff’s badges, along with the authority to arrest, even kill, offending parties. Those methods would not suit the laws or morals of today, but after a few hangings, order emerged from chaos.
My appeal, most surely not unique, is for strong measures to curtail the violence. Be it martial law, or other controls yet unimagined, I want my favorite city back from the hands of brigands.
Texas writer Ned Cheever is a frequent visitor to New Orleans and a contributor to NolaVie. Read his blog at nedcheever.com