I have been troubled at the volume of murders happening in New Orleans at the beginning of 2009. There seems to be more of it taking place now than even before the Federal Flood. Keith Spera writes in today's Times Picayune an excellent reflective piece.
I think it is important to read
"Until now, my wife and I have chosen to remain in the neighborhood and accept whatever risk that entails. But what of our responsibility to our child?
Does it make sense to raise her in a neighborhood, or a city, where killing is routine?
If not, when do we leave? And how far do we go?
How many other New Orleanians -- natives, like myself, and relative newcomers, like my wife -- ask themselves this same question?
Or do we all live in a state of denial?"
Something has to be done to make New Orleans safer. It will take more than good schools and an economic development program that truly distributes more jobs to residents beyond the tourist sector. Multiple systems have fallen apart and need to be repaired or replaced. Indeed, a whole culture may have to change on multiple fronts--political, social, community.
How we got here--historically there are numerous points we can find. How we go forward--if the will exists, it will still take time and more importantly for the disenfranchised there will need to be "proof" that viable alternatives to hopeless life exists.
I hate to see my city decay in this way, but it may be time for those who do have families to reconsider if it is worth it to LIVE in the city.