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Day 867: One Year Since The March

A year ago today we marched against crime in New Orleans, mourning the deaths of community stars like Dinerral Shavers and Helen Hill.  Mostly we marched against The Trifling Triumvirate of Mayor Ray Nagin, Police Chief Warren Riley and then D.A. Eddie Jordan and their ineffectual “battle” against the rise of crime in a drastically depopulated post-Katrina New Orleans.

These thoughts occupy my head, especially these statistics:

Murders in New Orleans:

2005: 211

2006: 160

2007: 219

Eddie Jordan is gone, but we haven’t heard much about the state of the DA’s office since Keva Landrum took over.  The mayor’s pledges are useless.  Warren Riley looks cheerful and nice in his TV spots.  According to his office, there have been fewer 701 releases between the time Landrum took over and now, but that doesn’t say anything about his responsibilities, accomplishments and the fact that NOPD recently “accidentally released” a high-profile armed robbery suspect.

How long will we sit on our hands until we take the flambeaux and pitchforks to City Hall?  Until the next Big Murder happens?  The truth is New Orleans suffers from a fatigue so deep, I’m surprised she has the energy to make it to the end of the day.  We are too worn out from fighting the little battles of daily life that all-out war seems like too much work, not a necessary responsibility.  This is precisely why crooked politicians and crime march on in this city even when we cannot any more.

Someone, anyone, prove me wrong. 

Was the march worth it?  What did it achieve?  What more can we do to reduce crime in this city and keep our surroundings safer?  These are not sarcastic queries, but those fraught with frustration that NOTHING has happened or changed since our march.  Feel free to tell me what it positively accomplished in our community, neighborhoods and lives beyond that day last year. 

8 comments… add one
  • mominem January 11, 2008, 4:59 PM

    I don’t think NOPD accidentally released anyone. I think that was Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman. Don’t let him off the hook.

    Oh and remember there were very few murders in the Q4 of 2005, the city was closed. We likely would have have about 60 more, without Katrina.

  • Clay January 11, 2008, 7:40 PM

    1. The crime watch made people better about crime. Not feeling helpless during the crime onslaught is worth something.

    2. A good activist group came together because of the march. Look at the crime mapping and community meetings that have sprung up since that meeting.

    3. Eddie Jordan’s absence was one (of many) nails in his coffin.

    4. Nagin was humiliated on the national scene and he knew it. The fact that he knew it made it good in my book.

  • Charlotte January 11, 2008, 8:26 PM

    What Clay said.

  • Alan Gutierrez January 13, 2008, 8:36 PM

    It is a success that Eddie Jordan is gone. We made it to miserable for him to continue his reign of terror. Without the high-profile of the crime march, his subsequent failure with the release of the alleged murders in the Central City and Shavers murders would have been glossed over.

    We scared with with the march.

    We are going to march again.

  • Editor B January 14, 2008, 3:34 PM

    “Was the march worth it?”

    Well… I suppose that depends on the cost. I took the whole day off work, so you could say it cost me a day’s pay. If you look at the cost of organizing the whole event, it was such a grassroots effort I would have to guess it didn’t cost much in the big scheme of things. I don’t mean to be reductionist; I’m not thinking just of monetary costs — there is social capital involved.

    But all said, I think the cost of the march was so little, that any return at all would justify it.

    Even if the only benefit was that it made the marchers feel a little better for a short while, I’d still have to conclude it was “worth it.”

    Unless, of course, the cost of the march includes the lives of those victims of violent crime whose deaths prompted the march in the first place. But in that case no return could possibly justify the cost.

  • Dambala January 14, 2008, 9:44 PM

    It made me feel closer to my community. Personally, it did something for me.

  • Julie G January 15, 2008, 1:21 PM

    The march made me feel better. More connected.

    Alas, we (Faubourg Marengo Neighborhood Association) are having an emergency neighborhood meeting this Thursday at Austerlitz Baptist Church. Our neighbors are scared to death. We are having a crime wave – attempted car jacking, shooting at Austerlitz and Annunciation. Drug deals a plenty. Shooting in 4000 block of Annuciation. 1 neighbor in middle of a HUGE renovation job just slapped a For Sale sign on his house. Says he is taking a loss and leaving for Manhattan. His sister is going to Arkansas. Sigh…..

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