We were pleased to hear Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s remarks yesterday in Washington. The epidemic of youth committing crimes is a national problem that every city faces. New Orleans and many American cities are strapped for cash and don’t have the available resources to implement clear solutions. It would be great if Congress allocated funds to create innovative programs that would address the problem.
But we think the real issue lies in economic equity for young African Americans. With the unemployment rate of African-Americans in New Orleans reaching almost 50%, it is quite easy to see why young men (and young women) commit crimes every day. The future does not seem bright for them. Excellent programs like Each One Save One and the new male mentoring program at McDonogh #35 High School can and do address the problem. But much more is needed – jobs are needed for adult black males and females and for their children.
If your role model is some employed full-time with a living wage that supports a family, a young person can aspire to those goals. But if everyone around you is unemployed or earning minimum wage and relying on public assistance, what hope can you have?
That’s why we understand the frustration of passionate religious leaders such as Pastor Tom Watson who travel the community hearing the frustrated cries of the people.
Mayor Landrieu and other mayors across America should line up Congressional support (starting with his sister U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu) to fund an action plan that will create decent paying jobs for more middle and lower class Americans.
Today’s news reports indicate that New Orleans is a rapidly growing city. We know that all those new residents would not be pleased to become victims of crime.
New federal prosecutor center of attention at Pro Bono Project ball
The ink was barely dry on Kenneth Polite’s appointment papers as the new US Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana when he attended the Pro Bono Project’s Justice For All Ball last Friday night with 700 of his closest friends in the legal community. Though Kenneth and Florencia Polite arrived a little late, they were the stars of the ball. He was attired in a tuxedo with an American flag pin on the lapel and she wore a shimmering floor-length gown. They will need lots of formal clothes for their new lives as Washington insiders with the Obamas. Polite has always been a big supporter of the Pro Bono Project and served on its board for many years.
As the Polites circulated around the Audubon Tea Room, many attendees congratulated him. No doubt some will soon be greeting him in Federal Court with clients in hand.
Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several televsion programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City Councilwoman Stacy Head, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and council candidate Dana Kaplan.