Jan 172013
 

Police officers look for evidence near the corner of Annunciation and Washington after two men were shot there Nov. 26, 2012. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Irish Channel neighbors are worried that more violence may be lurking just beneath the surface at the notoriously troubled corner of Washington Avenue and Annunciation Street, despite a series of arrests in the wake of a double shooting there last November.

Right now, the trouble seems to be limited to the drug trade and minor skirmishes related to it, neighbors told the Sixth District police at their monthly meeting of community members. But it’s the same type of activity that has always led to shootings in the past, and they are worried that that another burst of violence could be on the way, they said.

In late November, two men were wounded in a shooting at the corner, and residents said at the time that they were worried that newcomers to the neighborhood were stirring up the trouble. Now, the neighbors told police, those same newcomers seem to be squatting in abandoned buildings nearby.

Part of the monthly meeting included a review of “heat maps” that show locations that have reported violent crime, and the Washington and Annunciation corner was not highlighted on it. Neighbors did not dispute the map — the criminal activity has been just under the radar, they said.

“It’s not showing up on the maps because it’s the kind of stuff you have to go out there and get,” said Adolph Lopez, a member of the Irish Channel Neighborhood Association.

Many neighbors believe that the loitering and street crime in the intersection seems drawn to Nick’s store on the corner, and they have been trying to enlist either the business owner or property owner to help. City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell attended last week’s meeting of the Irish Channel Neighborhood Association, they noted, and she has agreed to use her office find a solution as well.

After the November shooting, the Sixth District immediately sent in a task force that made several drug arrests. In the two months since then, several criminals well known for frequenting the area have been arrested in unrelated cases, said Lt. Frank Young, and police also made a drug case based directly on information from residents in the same area.

Based on their reports, there must be some new dealing already taking place in the area again, Young said.

“Whenever there’s drug traffic, there’s going to be disturbances, whether it’s over money, quantity or quality,” Young said. “So we’re going to try to attack the drug angle again.”

Thursday night’s meeting also included a detailed review of crime statistics in the Sixth District. To read our live coverage of the meeting, see below.

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  • IrishChan

    I live a block away and drive through this intersection, and down the Annunciation block every day between 5 and 6pm. There are a lot of new faces just standing around… Usually at least 3 groups of people, 3 or four guys in each group. One on the corner across from the store. The other two at different spots towards Uptown, on Annunciation.

    These past two weeks, it’s almost everyday I have to stop and wait for a car that is blocking the road, or half way pulled over, on Annunciation…

    I’m young, late 20′s, and not somebody who thinks every person I see is a drug dealer… But it’s easy to see what’s going on… It’s right out in the open, and has really picked up in the last month.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jim.mcarthur.10 Jim McArthur

      The NOPD isn’t concerned about loitering. Or drug dealing. Or nuisance bars. Or nuisance convenience stores. They turn the proverbial blind eye and deaf ear to everything: until there’s a shooting. Then there’s community meetings, followed by enhanced patrolling, special task forces. . . and all that lasts a week. Maybe. New Orleans is never going to break the cycle of crime until they take a page out of New York’s book: zero tolerance for lawbreaking! Enforce every statute, every ordinance, prosecute everyone who breaks them. But this is New Orleans. . . a bullet-ridden dead body on the sidewalk attracts attention of neighbors for a week or so: then it’s on to Mardi Gras, the Saints game, the Superbowl, or whatever. We’re the City that Forgot to Care: so laissez les bontemps roulez, and pray to St. Expedite that YOU don’t make the next body count. :-(

  • alyssa principoli

    Why can’t we say it? Why can’t we say it, acknowledge it, and then use that recognition of fact to do something positive about crime? If Purple People were shooting up this city nobody would have a problem with profiling them. If Green People were out committing crimes every day somebody would call for the police to start stopping them when they looked suspicious. But in this city it’s another color. And we can’t talk about it. I especially can’t talk about it because my color is white. I can’t talk about it because a very long time before my grandfather was born some people did very bad things to this specific color. And then – even when that certain color of people were given legal equality some others held them back. It went on like this for decades. People in power abusing a certain race just cause of how they looked. It was wrong. It was Un-American. It was cruel, and disgusting. But it was also in the past. It’s not that way anymore. In New Orleans, that particular color of people hold most city offices. They are the majority in most city jobs, and outnumber everyone else demographically. They even run our jails. So why can’t we call them out? Why can’t we say what the problem is in this city? Because it isn’t the green people causing trouble. It’s not the purple people. And it sure as hell isn’t the white people. It’s another people. People who were abused for a long time, and were treated like dirt. But not anymore. Why can’t we say where the problem lies? Why can’t we come out and point a finger? Why are the press so afraid to do so? Why am I? We all know this city needs to change. Something needs to be done. The crime has to stop. But none of us are willing to address the actual cause of crime. And unless we are willing to take a risk and acknowledge who is actually at fault for our peril; we might as well just sit back and take it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jim.mcarthur.10 Jim McArthur

      You can say it, Alyssa. In fact, you DID say it.

    • will_k2

      The reason we don’t call for the police to start stopping them because “they looked suspicious” (i.e., “looked black”) is because the huge majority of African Americans in the city are hardworking, law-abiding citizens, who don’t deserve to be stopped on account of their skin color happening to match the skin color of the folks dealing drugs on this streetcorner.

      New Orleanians are perfectly willing to “acknowledge who is actually at fault for our peril:” criminals are at fault for our peril. They are not criminals because of their skin color. They are criminals because they are criminals. Just like you’re not a grotesque racist because you’re white, you’re just a racist because you’re a racist.

  • alyssa principoli

    You deleted my post. I guess that answers my question about fear. Clearly nobody is more afraid than the media. Business first, right? I wasn’t trying to start anything. I just asked a question about crime and demographics And you answered it for me, very concisely. You know my post didn’t violate any of your rules. You know it had legitimate talking points. But you deleted it anyway because you don’t want trouble. Ok. It’s you’re newspaper so it’s your call. But whoever you are – don’t pretend you have integrity. You’ll just be fooling yourself.

  • jfw

    A small speaker playing classical music is worth a try. I did just that after purchasing a property around which thugs gathered and they all fled like the cockroaches they were! Barry Manilow songs work just as well but are torture for all the good guys.