Viewpoint: Who will take the lead in addressing the city’s crime epidemic?

Watching yesterday’s special City Council meeting on crime was very painful. It put a spotlight on the fear, frustration and anger of thousands of New Orleanians who recognize that the city has probably never been so unsafe. Voters also realize that New Orleans political, business, civic and grassroots leaders are not working together as a team. No one person appears to be in charge. While many government leaders are making worthwhile suggestions, the proposed solutions to a safer city are all over the place.

Viewpoint: Has gun retaliation become a part of New Orleans culture?

Why are so many New Orleanians and visitors getting shot and even killed recently? The answer is fairly simple. People, especially our young people, are turning to guns to resolve the disputes that used to be handled less dramatically by cooler heads. Over the past few years, retaliatory violence has become as much a part of New Orleans culture as red beans and rice. We can’t arrest our way out of New Orleans’ crime problem.

Viewpoint: Campaign season starts again with House District 93 race

2023 will be a busy election year in Louisiana. A new governor, other statewide officials, and multiple judges will be selected. Yet the first race of the new year will fill a vacancy in Orleans Parish’s legislative delegation. Qualifying begins Wednesday (Jan. 11) for a candidate to represent the Louisiana House District 93 seat previously held by Royce Duplessis.

Viewpoint: Will Interim Superintendent Michelle Woodfork be able to make a difference?

The citizens of New Orleans are shell-shocked, no pun intended, by the highest homicide rate in more than 25 years. Armed robberies have also skyrocketed. Numbed by the ongoing crime wave, residents are no longer surprised when they hear gunshots. After multiple shots rang out last Friday afternoon (Dec. 23) at Rouses on Baronne Street, people across the city were astounded by the brazen act of violence that took the life of comedian and social media sensation Brandon “Boogie B” Montrell.  

On Christmas morning, a 16-year old was injured in a Central City shooting.

Viewpoint: All I want for Christmas is a safer New Orleans

It’s hard to turn on the news these days. There are far too many stories about innocent people who have been assaulted, murdered or carjacked. Also, I am not so naïve as to believe that all the crimes committed end up in police reports. 

The results of the NOPD Recruitment and Retention Survey, released Wednesday (Dec. 14) by Council President Helena Moreno and the Fraternal Order of Police, only make matters worse. Conducted by the AH Datalytics, the survey shows the high level of dissatisfaction officers feel about cronyism, favoritism and promotions based more on who you know than ability and experience.

Viewpoint: New Orleans voters need a voice in who runs the NOPD

For perhaps the first time since Mayor LaToya Cantrell appointed Shaun Ferguson as chief of police almost four years ago, Ferguson spoke candidly in public. “I want to encourage our city leaders to have better communication lines. This isn’t able personal agendas. It’s about the safety of the people of New Orleans,” Ferguson said Wednesday (Dec. 7) during his remarks on what influenced his surprise decision to retire in less than three weeks.

Viewpoint: Relationship between Mayor Cantrell and City Council reaches new low

This week’s drama that pitted Mayor LaToya Cantrell against City Council President Helena Moreno and the majority of council members is just another example of the deep rift between the two branches of city government. Don’t expect it to heal anytime soon. The council was quick to call out Cantrell for her handling of Housing Authority of New Orleans board member Sharon Jasper, a long-time tenant advocate who Cantrell wanted to replace. State law requires that the appointing authority provide clear reasons for dismissal. Cantrell initially provided no reasons and then gave only lip service to the law.

Viewpoint: As we give thanks today, remember those who are less fortunate

Why is Thanksgiving special? After all, the early Pilgrims weren’t such great folk. They muscled their way onto this continent and used weapons not available to its indigenous population to seize land, food and people while eliminating anyone who got in the way. They brought diseases that tribes had no means to combat. They broke up homes and destroyed villages and sacred grounds.

Viewpoint: Inspector General Ed Michel is on the right track

It was refreshing to hear Inspector General Ed Michel tell the City Council on Tuesday (Nov. 15) about his plans to audit or investigate an important group of city departments and agencies showing a troubling performance for some time. The Sewerage & Water Board’s billing issues are legendary. The performance of the 911/311 call system has often been questionable. What about short-term rentals that advertise themselves at “two bedrooms sleep eight” instead of four as required by the permitting process?