Thursday, August 02, 2007

111 Human Beings

As of August 1, 2007, there have been 111 murders in New Orleans this year. With 212 days in the year completed, that comes to an average of one murder every 1.909 days – basically, a murder every other day. If that average stays the same all year, we will end 2007 with 191 murders. In a city of 300,000 people, that comes to a murder rate of 63 murders per 100,000 residents.

If nothing changes, 80 more human beings will die a violent death on the streets of New Orleans this year. And most of those who die will be African-American men, often young, and almost always they will be shot.

The Times-Picayune has a blog with a map of all the murders and information about all 111 deaths, including victim names and details about the status of the murder investigations. This is the way it should be done.

Along with, we are well served on the mapping front.

St. Anna's Episcopal Church is recording the murders of 2007 on a board outside of the church. From the T-P article:
The Rev. Bill Terry, the pony-tailed pastor at St. Anna's Episcopal Church, updates The List each Monday afternoon with a black permanent marker: date, name, age, gender, manner of death (shot/beaten/stabbed).


He and Elaine Clemments, a deacon in training, sought to both funnel their outrage and honor victims. When a victim becomes a statistic, people have a tendency to look at the victim and make a value judgment: He's a criminal, he probably deserved it. To Terry, it makes no difference.

"It's a human being someone loved," he said, sitting in the rectory hall, clutching a cup of coffee.
Human beings someone loved.

January – 17 human beings someone loved murdered

February – 13 human beings someone loved murdered

March – 18 human beings someone loved murdered

April – 14 human beings someone loved murdered

May – 15 human beings someone loved murdered

June – 19 human beings someone loved murdered

July – 14 human beings someone loved murdered

07/01/07 – 2 murders
98) A 26-year-old man was gunned down in the 1500 block of North Johnson Street early Sunday and a man was arrested in connection with the slaying later that same morning.


According to investigators, First District Officers responding to a call found the victim lying in the driver's seat of a vehicle, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

99) The most recent crime related death took place just around 9 p.m. in Orleans Parish in the 1800 block of St. Roch.
Police said they found the body of a 65-year-old man in the side alley of an abandoned warehouse. He had a gunshot wound to the head.
07/05/07 – 1 murder
100) An autopsy determined Jerome Banks, 27, of New Orleans was killed by a shotgun blast to the chest, said chief cororner's investigator John Gagliano, who released his identity.
About 6:55 a.m., police responded to a call found Banks lying in high grass in the driveway of a vacant house in the 6000 block of Beechcraft Street, said Garry Flot, a public information officer for the New Orleans police.
He said police found evidence that Banks was shot nearby in the 4500 block of Skyview.
07/13/07 – 1 murder
101) One man was killed and two others wounded, but a baby narrowly escaped injury Friday evening, when gunshots from a passing vehicle were fired at a parked van in Central City, New Orleans police said.
None of the victims was identified by police. One died at a local hospital, where he was taken shortly after the shooting. He had been with at least three other people in a parked van, the apparent target of a drive-by shooting at about 8:35 p.m., police said.
07/14/07 – 1 murder
102) An 18-year-old man who was shot and killed in Central City on Saturday has been identified as Keith Paige of New Orleans, the Orleans Parish coroner's office said.
Paige was shot Saturday about 5 p.m. at Freret and Third streets, New Orleans police said. He died the same day at 7:55 p.m. at University Hospital.
An autopsy showed he died of multiple gunshot wounds…
07/18/07 – 2 murders
103) A 33-year-old man was shot in Eastern New Orleans at about 12:30 a.m. on Michoud Boulevard near Adventure Avenue, New Orleans police said.
The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of family members.
According to investigators, Seventh District officers responded to a call of a "male shot" and, upon their arrival, found the victim lying in the street with multiple gunshot wounds to his body next to a vehicle. Emergency medical technicians were summoned to the scene, where he was pronounced dead.

104) Paul Burks, 24, of New Orleans was shot about 10:30 p.m. in the 2100 block of Annunciation Street, between Jackson Avenue and Josephine Street. A private citizen drove Burks to Touro Infirmary, where he died Thursday at 1:24 a.m.
An autopsy showed Burks suffered one gunshot wound to the back, said chief coroner's investigator John Gagliano.
07/21/07 – 1 murder
105) The New Orleans Police Department is investigating the shooting death around 9:30 a.m., Saturday, of a 54-year-old man near the corner of Jackson Avenue and Baronne Street in Central City.
Police did not immediately have any motive or suspects in the shooting at a car wash at 2139 Baronne St., police spokeswoman Sabrina Richardson said. The coroner's office did not immediately identify the victim.
Richardson said officers responded around 9:30 a.m. to a report of shots fired. They found the victim dead at the scene of a gun shot to the head.
07/22/07 – 2 murders
106) A 26-year-old man was shot and killed about 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of Eagle and Spruce streets, the New Orleans Police Department said.
Dallas Jerome suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the torso and a fatal shot to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene, said chief coroner's investigator John Gagliano.

107) A New Orleans teenager was found shot to death and another one wounded in an Algiers neighborhood Sunday night.
New Orleans police continued the search for a motive and suspects Monday after James Johnson, 19, was found dead and an 18-year-old wounded.
New Orleans police officers responded to a call Sunday shortly after 8:30 p.m. reporting a man lying near the street at 3537 Timber Wolf Lane. They and found the older victim with a gunshot wounds, including one to the head, officer Sabrina Richardson said. He was taken to University Hospital, where he died, said John Gagliano, spokesman for the New Orleans coroner's office.
07/26/07 – 1 murder
108) New Orleans police are looking for the gunman in an early-morning carjacking that left one man dead Thursday.
A friend said he'd rented his Panola Street pool house to 49-year-old Anthony White, who became the 108th homicide victim in New Orleans this year.
White was a contractor for Jacobs Engineering out of Baton Rouge, Brad Robinson said. He was shot and killed at about 3 a.m.
"It was a carjacking, and it could've happened to you -- it could've happened to anybody watching this broadcast. The guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Robinson said.
White's blue 2002 Jeep Liberty was taken.

07/28/07 – 1 murder
109) A man was fatally shot Saturday night in the Zion City neighborhood, New Orleans police said.
The unidentified man was found dead in the Palmetto Canal along the 4100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard shortly before 9 p.m.
The man died on the paved area inside the canal, not in the water. He appeared to have multiple gunshot wounds, said Sgt. Joe Narcisse, a police public information officer.

07/30/07 – 1 murder
110) Police received a report of gunshots around 7 a.m. in the 1400 block of Bienville Street, according to New Orleans Police Department officer Garry Flot. When police arrived, they found a man lying face down on the ground. He had been shot several times, Flot said.
The victim was identified by the Orleans Parish coroner's office as 24-year-old John W. Barrow III. Barrow was living in Baton Rouge, but had recently returned to New Orleans, said John Gagliano, chief investigator for the office.
Barrow was gunned down in a patch of well-grown grass, under the shade of a tree that reached to the top of the development's three-story buildings.
07/31/07 – 1 murder
111) One man is dead and another is hospitalized in stable condition after an early morning shooting Tuesday in the 9th Ward.
Shortly before 1 a.m., 5th District police responded to a call of "male down" near the corner of Marais and Pauline streets near the Industrial Canal, officer Sabrina Richardson said.
Officers found one man with a gunshot wound in his chest and another with a gunshot wound in his buttocks, according to police.
John Gagliano, chief investigator for the Orleans Parish coroner's office, identified the man with the chest wound as Kevin Underwood, 22. Underwood died at University Hospital, Gagliano said.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What's Matt at Fix the Pumps Going to Do Now?

He said good bye on his blog. I have a suggestion for his next challenge:
Vacancy Announcement Number: SWGY07068166D

Changes to the Job Announcement: Must Possess a Professional Engineering Registration
Opening Date: June 29, 2007 Closing Date: July 13, 2007
Position: Supervisory General Engineer, YF-0801-2
Salary: $56,301 - $107,991 Annual
Place of Work: Hurricane Protection Office, Executive Support Division, Technical Support Branch, New Orleans, LA
Position Status: Temporary Position Not to Exceed: 3 YRS -- Full Time
Number of Vacancy: 1
Just kidding.

I nominate Fix the Pumps as the first inductee into the NOLA Bloggers Hall of Fame.

Thanks, Matt.

You Attack Jesus. You Attack America.

Slidell Mayor Ben Morris, with my emphasis:
"Our money has God's name on it. The Pledge of Allegiance has God's name on it. Congress opens up with a prayer. And they run around like chickens with their heads cut off, that this is fostering religion. I don't think it fosters anything. I don't think that's what the Founding Fathers had in mind," Mayor Ben Morris said. [LINK]
Slidell Mayor Ben Morris says the city will fight the ACLU. " Guess again boys, You're in for a fight. As diverse we are, Slidell is an All American city. We will not cut and run. File you damn lawsuit.' said Morris. [LINK]
"I fight daily with FEMA for the recovery of our city, and now we must fight these tyrants, this American Taliban, who seek to destroy our culture and our heritage," Morris said. [LINK]
Because Ben Morris, the Mayor of Slidell, the executive of the city, equates Christian heritage with American heritage and the heritage of Slidell, and says so publicly and vociferously, one may conclude that to attack Jesus is to attack the City of Slidell, an “All American City.” Extending the analogy, one may conclude that the mayor of Slidell is saying to attack Jesus is to attack America.

If this is not the establishment of a religion by government, or at least the preference of one religion, I don’t know what is.

City Court Judge Jim Lamz knows better. His statements, and those of representatives from his court, minimize the role religion plays in the their desire to keep Slidell Jesus up:
"Due to the display's historical place in the courthouse, I explored options to obtain a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of the display without an adversarial court battle," he said. "I could find none." [LINK]
"It's more than just a picture of Jesus," [court spokeswoman Ann] Barks said. "It might have more to do with the business of the court than purely religious reasons." [LINK]
"The ideas expressed in this painting aren't specific to any one faith, and they certainly don't establish a single state religion," he [Mike Johnson, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund] said. "The reason Americans enjoy equal justice is because we are all created equal, endowed by (our) Creator with certain unalienable rights. This painting is a clear reflection of the ideas in the Declaration of Independence." [LINK]
What we have here are two contradictory reasons for Slidell Jesus to stay up: It should stay up because it is not religious; it should stay up because it is religious.

The “not religious” reason is held by those tasked with defending Slidell Jesus in court. If Slidell Jesus is not religious, but historical, then it does not violate the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment and may remain exhibited in the lobby of the Slidell City Court.

The “religious” reason is held by Mayor Ben Morris, speaking for Joe and Jane Slidell. He equates (or conflates) his Christian heritage with Slidell’s heritage, even extending it to represent America’s heritage. To him, putting up a picture of Jesus is like putting up an American flag – not in a historical sense, but in a truly patriotic sense. He is saying that America’s history *is* religious, specifically Christian, and that’s why Slidell Jesus should stay up.

Joe and Jane Slidell are the crux of this decision. We know what the politicians and the ACLU think. We’ve seen the press conferences. But, what does the average person think when they walk into Slidell City Court and look up at Slidell Jesus?

It is safe to assume that the people who want the picture to come down look up and see a religious image. That’s why they want it to come down.

And, after reading about the protest rally last week, I think it is safe to assume that the people who want the picture to stay also look up and see a religious image:
"You know, (the ACLU) is picking on a small community," said Randy Lee, 60, of Slidell. A self-described Christian fundamentalist, he gripped a hand-lettered sign that read "In God We Trust."

"Christians are seen as very passive. It's time for Christian people to stand up and say, 'Hey!'"

The rally lasted about an hour and was peppered with prayer and shouts of "Hallelujah!" and "Praise Jesus!" Toward the end of her speech, the Rev. Kathleen Javery-Bacon, of the Holy Ghost and Fire Revival Ministries in Slidell, raised her arm to the sky while chanting, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus" as the crowd echoed her cry.
So, pretty much everyone looks up and sees a religious image. But what about the message? The words written in Cyrillic… are they a universal message about judging wisely as a city court certainly should?

Who cares. I can’t read Cyrillic. Can you? If you can, that's actually pretty cool. I'm sure it is a useful skill.

But if you are not there to translate for the average Slidellian, he or she will look up and see a picture of Jesus holding a book. Mostly likely, he or she will assume that book is the Bible. Then, under the Bible-wielding Jesus, he or she will read, “TO KNOW PEACE, OBEY THESE LAWS,” and can only conclude that “these laws” refer to the Bible.

And Ben Morris is okay with that.

I like to think the Constitution isn’t.

One more thing. For those who can read Cyrillic, they know that the phrases in Slidell Jesus’ book are Gospel verses:
According to the court's research, one quotation is from John 7:24. In the King James version of the Bible, it reads: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."

The second quotation is from Matthew 7:2: "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
Sure, they talk about judgment. But, knowing a little bit about Christianity, that word “judgment” isn't talking about whether or not you go to jail, but whether or not you go to heaven - or go to hell like me.

Happy 4th!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

There Was No Downtick

Part of the reason I started keeping track of media reports of murders in New Orleans was because I saw varying numbers of how many people were murdered. And, when the numbers didn’t vary, the explanations for them did. So, I wanted my own information to make my own conclusions.

I have posted my numbers throughout the year on this blog. It appears I missed two, possibly three murders.

The T-P says this murder was the number 100. I had it as 97. I went back and found a murder I missed, as well as a hit and run fatality that I did not include, though I should have because that is a murder. New Orleans Citizen Crime Watch had both.

I can not find a third murder that I missed. It is probably out there, or the T-P may be including a murder that the coroner concluded happened in 2006, but the victim was found in 2007. I count it in the 2006 stats. The NOPD has counted it both ways, as a 2007 murder and a 2006 murder.

Either way, whether a third uncounted murder exists or not, my numbers in this post for the 2nd quarter of 2007 are wrong. At least 2 should be added to the total.

This means, unfortunately, there was no downtick:
Jul-Aug-Sep 2006 – 53 murders
Oct-Nov-Dec 2006 – 52 murders
Jan-Feb-Mar 2007 – 48 murders
Apr-May-Jun 2007 – 49 murders (possibly one more)
I would also like to highlight some great keeping-it-in-perspective comments made by MAD in the previous post:
With the metropolitan population now at 91% of the pre-K level, use of the 260,000 Orleans Parish population estimates to calculate Orleans murder rates creates a statistical anomaly. While any murder is one too many, of course, we are not really a far more violent city than we were before the storm, as the raw data otherwise suggests. The high murder rate in N.O. murder is in part a function of the artificial setting of narrow parish boundaries, a constraint that many other cities do not share. Draw the parish boundaries for Orleans around Central City, and you will see rates that rival Baghdad, while the rest of Orleans magically becomes "safer".
I agree.

I responded by saying the point of my post is not to judge the relative safety of any given person in New Orleans, but rather to point out that “statistic anomaly” and use it to judge the effectiveness of the New Orleans criminal justice system. They know where the “Baghdads” of New Orleans are, yet are either powerless, incompetent, or uncaring enough to stop the murders there.

MAD made another good point to keep in mind while comparing New Orleans to other cities:
The problem is with publications like the TP boldly declaring to the country that we are once again the "murder capital". We all know what that does to our ability to successfuly rebuild. I am not at all suggesting that we gloss over our problems with violent crime, but if per capita comparative analyses is the standard for informing public perception as to which cities are safe and which are not, then let's compare apples and apples. If 100,000 or so Orleans Parish residents still reside in the area and continue to interact with the city for job and other purposes, but now live just outside of the parish boundaries, then let's factor that into the determination as to the city's per capita murder rate.
Utilization of per capita measurements is valid only if all cities are measured by the same or comparable objective standards, but random and arbitrary political boundary determinations make that difficult and wholly unreliable. A better approach would be to compare murder rates among the nation's SMSAs.
I would still say that the murder rate for New Orleans lets us judge the effectiveness of the New Orleans criminal justice system. For murder rates, the parish boundaries are in no way artificial. Something is going on in New Orleans that is not happening in Jefferson, which is right next door and for a long time had two times the population after the storm.

But the local murder rate does not give an accurate assessment of the safety of the region.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Downtick of Upticks

[EDIT # 2 - 07/03/07] The T-P says this murder was number 100. My count put it at 97. I found one murder I missed, and maybe they are counting this hit and run, which would be a murder. Possibly, there is one other murder I missed, or they are including a murder which the coroner says happened in 2006, but the victim was found in 2007. I count that murder in the 2006 stats. The NOPD has counted it both ways.

The beating I missed and the hit and run add two to all my numbers in the 2nd quarter of 2007. This means, unfortunately, that there was no downtick.

[EDIT] So, overnight there were two more murders yesterday and one early this morning. That changes all the numbers I had when I wrote this at 1 a.m. The edits are in brackets.

As of July 1, 2007, there have been 93 [95] murders in New Orleans this year (by my count). With 181 days in the year completed, that comes to an average of one murder every 1.94 [1.90] days – basically, a murder every other day. If that average stays the same all year, we will end 2007 with 187 [191] murders. In a city of 262,000 people, that comes to a murder rate of 71 [72.9] murders per 100,000 residents.

If nothing changes, 94 [96] more human beings will die a violent death on the streets of New Orleans this year. And most of those who die will be African-American men, often young, and almost always they will be shot.

From July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2007, there have been 198 [200] murders in New Orleans. Using an average of the population estimates over that time period (223,000 in July 2006; 262,000 in May 2007; the average is 242,500), New Orleans has a murder rate of 81.6 [82.4] murders per 100,000 residents over the past 365-day period.

As a point of reference, the next highest murder rate in the country in 2006 was Gary, IN, (pop. 97,715) with a murder rate of 48.3 murders per 100,000 residents. And the next highest city with a similar population was Birmingham, AL, (pop. 229,424) in fifth place with a murder rate of 44.5. I am not sure what their murder rates are over the last year.

However, there has been a “downtick” (as Mayor Nagin might say) in this last quarter (April, May, and June) with 45 [47] murders:
Jul-Aug-Sep 2006 – 53 murders
Oct-Nov-Dec 2006 – 52 murders
Jan-Feb-Mar 2007 – 48 murders
Apr-May-Jun 2007 – 45 [47] murders
In fact, each quarter has seen fewer murders than the one before it. Let's hope that's a trend, not a blip.

Of course, though I throw out all these numbers, it is not the numbers who die. It is not the numbers we mourn. Family and friends don’t lose numbers.

We lose people.

17 people in January.

13 people in February.

18 people in March.

14 people in April.

15 people in May.

16 [18] people in June.

06/02/07 – 1 murder
78) The woman, Tammie Johnson, 36, of New Orleans, died of a shotgun blast to the chest, chief coroner's investigator John Gagliano said.

On Saturday shortly before 8:30 p.m., police were called to a house in the 4800 block of Rosalia Drive and found Johnson on the floor.
06/03/07 – 1 murder
79) Larry Hawkins, 26, of New Orleans, was found shot dead shortly after 7 a.m. in an alley in the 1300 block of Bartholomew Street.

He suffered two gunshot wounds to the face, Gagliano said.
06/04/07 – 2 murders
80) Earlier Monday, Terrell Ceazer, 25, of New Orleans, was fatally shot in Treme.


He died Monday shortly after 4 a.m. at University Hospital, said chief coroner's investigator John Gagliano, who released his identity.

An autopsy showed he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

81) Police said a man was shot to death by his wife Monday evening in the Central City neighborhood, the fourth slaying in New Orleans in three days and the second Monday, police said.

The Orleans Parish coroner's office identified the dead man as George Hammond, 45, of New Orleans.

Police said his wife, Janet Hammond, was a suspect.

Police responded to a call about gunshots in the 1800 block of Second Street shortly before 7:30 p.m., and found George Hammond inside a blue shotgun double, Sabrine Richardson, a police public information officer said.
06/05/07 – 1 murder
82) The Orleans Parish coroner's office has released the identity of a 19-year-old man who was gunned down Tuesday night in Central City.

Someone used an AK-47 assault rifle to shoot Persale R. Green shortly before 10 p.m., New Orleans police said.

Green, of New Orleans, was found face down on a sidewalk in the 1600 block of Baronne Street, midway between Terpsichore and Euterpe streets.

An autopsy showed Green was shot several times, said chief coroner's investigator John Gagliano, who released his identity.
06/09/07 – 2 murders
83) The first shooting occurred about 9:40 p.m. on a sidewalk in the 3400 block of Touro Street, between Pleasure and Lafreniere streets. An 18-year-old man died at the scene, in the area of Interstate 610 and Elysian Fields Avenue.

84) About 45 minutes later, the second shooting took place at Marais and Spain streets, in the St. Roch neighborhood. A 27-year-old man was found dead in the street. He suffered multiple shots to the body, police said.
06/10/07 – 1 murder
85) Samuel Gonzales, 26, of Guatemala, was killed Sunday about 2 a.m. in the 4200 block of Clara Street in the general area of Napoleon and South Claiborne avenues.

Gonzales was found after shots were heard. Police said he was a local resident, but he was from Guatemala, said Gagliano, who released his identity.
06/11/07 – 2 murders
86) A 19-year-old New Orleans man was fatally shot Monday afternoon in his car on a Central City street, dying about three hours later after driving himself to the hospital, police and the coroner's office said.

Darryl Williams was pronounced dead at Touro Infirmary at 3:50 p.m., said John Gagliano, spokesman for the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office.

87) Robin Malta, 43, was found dead in his house at 634 Port St. between Chartres and Royal streets when his sister went to check on him, Gagliano said.

He said the exact cause of death was not known, but the case was being treated as a homicide Monday night.
06/17/07 – 3 murders
88) In a third, unrelated case, the coroner's office Friday identified a man shot to death early Sunday in the Lower 9th Ward as Jason Wynne, 21, who lived in St. Bernard Parish but was originally from Georgia, said John Gagliano, chief investigator of the coroner's office.

Wynne was found in the middle of Gordon and Urquhart streets by 5th District officers responding to a report of shots being fired in the area shortly before 4 a.m., New Orleans police said.

89) Jerrell Jackson, 21, was shot Sunday about 6:30 p.m. in Central City in the 2200 block of Josephine Street, between Simon Bolivar Avenue and South Liberty Street. He was pronounced dead at 7:25 a.m. at University Hospital.

90) In a second fatal shooting on Sunday, the coroner's office has identified the victim as Christopher Roberts, 33, of New Orleans. Police officials didn't provide any information about that killing, which occurred in the 1900 block of Esplanade Avenue.
06/22/07 – 1 murder
91) A 22-year-old man was fatally shot early this morning in eastern New Orleans, police said.

Officers responding to an emergency call found the man laying in the street around 4 a.m. in the 7800 block of Star Street, New Orleans Police said in a news release. The man, whose identity was not released, had been shot several times.


The man killed in Little Woods was identified as Samuel Williams Jr. He had gunshot wounds to the back and head, police spokeswoman Officer Jonette Williams said.
06/29/07 – 1 murder
92) A 19-year-old New Orleans man was shot to death Friday on an Annunciation Street sidewalk in a neighborhood of mixed-income homes where the St. Thomas public housing complex was located, police said.

The man was identified as Jeremy Tillman of New Orleans. He was shot several times and died at the scene, police said. One bullet appeared to have entered his side near his heart, officers said.
06/30/07 – 1 [3] murder[s]
93) The murder took place shortly after 1 p.m. at the intersection of Higgins Street and Press Drive, according to Officer Jonette Williams, an NOPD spokesperson.

Fifth District Officers found the victim lying in the driveway of a home with a gunshot wound to the head, Williams said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators have not identified the victim, but said she did have a tattoo on her right forearm that said “Jennifer.”


94) The first of those slayings occurred shortly after 10 p.m. when New Orleans police officers found a 33-year-old New Orleans man dead on the porch of a residence at 1440 Annette Street. The victim, whose name is being withheld pending notification of family, suffered stab wounds to the neck.


95) The second incident occurred shortly after 11 p.m. when a 33-year-old man died from several gunshot wounds to his body, said Officer Jonette Williams, police spokeswoman.
Fifth District officers responded to a call of gunfire at 3023 Republic St. and found the victim lying on the porch with gunshot wounds to the torso.
I mentioned Jerrell Jackson in a previous post. Law enforcers suspect Jeremy Tillman lived a similarly full thug life:
Police said they have no suspect, although officers speculated that revenge might have fueled the killing.

Detectives were recently investigating Tillman's possible involvement in a fatal shooting about three weeks ago in Central City, officers said, though there was insufficient evidence to arrest him.

Tillman was a "701 release" in February at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, when the district attorney's office failed to present to a magistrate within 60 days enough evidence to detain him further on charges of possession of crack cocaine and resisting arrest, according to court records.
I do not see the justice in street justice. When Thug #1 murders someone and gets away with it, there is a murderer on the streets. When Thug #2 comes and kills Thug #1 and gets away with it, one murderer is off the streets. But we have gained another murderer, and we are back where we started. Actually, we never went anywhere.

In fact, we seem to be going backwards:
Orleans Parish prosecutors on Friday dropped all charges against the teenager accused of murdering the drummer for the Hot 8 Brass Band in December, saying their key witness, a 15-year-old girl, refuses to testify.

David Bonds, 18, was charged with the second-degree murder of Dinerral Shavers, 25, a band teacher at Rabouin High School and a Hot 8 Brass Band member who was shot in the head while he drove his wife and two children along the 2200 block of Dumaine Street on the evening of Dec. 28.


Prosecutors said they have been unable even to serve a subpoena to the state's witness, whose mother refuses to let her daughter cooperate.

"She will never allow her daughter to testify," said Anthony Satcher, a homicide investigator for the district attorney's office, on the witness stand Friday. "She said she'd rather be in jail."
Our community is not only afraid of the murderer on the streets, but also by the murderer behind bars. Thus, the community is held captive while the criminals are set free.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just Felt Like I Needed to Link to This

From The Elements of Style:
Omit needless words.

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
Thank you, Mr. McGannon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A is for Audrey

The 1957 Atlantic hurricane season didn't have to wait until the letter "K" to be a disaster:
Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of hurricane Audrey, a storm that tore apart Cameron parish. Up until hurricane Katrina, it was Louisiana's most notorious hurricane. Survivors of that storm will gather at the Cameron parish courthouse for a memorial Wednesday. We caught up with a Cameron parish man who was the only member of his family to survive.

"They had weathered hurricanes prior to '57, and what they did not understand was the surge. You see the surge is what killed the 500 plus or whatever people."
It just takes one hurricane. And it could be the first one.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Picture I Would Like to See in the Slidell City Court

Actually, though I am a non-believer, religious iconography fascinates me. I struggled to find the exact image of the Slidell Jesus online - the position of his hand was different in the Slidell picture than any others I saw, or the book was closed, or there was no book. Finally, I found the icon for sale on this site, which has a description:
Christ is blessing with His right hand, His fingers formed into the shape of the Greek letters "IC XC", the Greek abbreviation for "Jesus Christ". His blessing hand is turned inward as if to remind us that He is the Great Blessing, granting us an opportunity to repent and inherit eternal life. He is holding a Book of the Gospels in His left arm. It is opened to the passages reading "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge with righteous judgement. (John 7:24) For with what judgement you judge, you shall be judged." (Matthew 7:2)

Christ is traditionally shown with a short beard and long dark hair parted in the middle. His expression is serious, but not without mercy. Christ's outer robe is blue, to symbolize His humanity which he put on in His Incarnation, and His inner robe is red, to represent His divinity that He always was in eternity.

Christ Our God is the Saviour of all men who would be saved and who acknowledge their sinfulness, their need to be saved in truth by their own cooperation, and thus truly repent "for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"
I hear there is a rally tonight on the the Slidell City Court steps. If you are a high school student in attendence, be careful what you say.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


The T-P profiled the Guardian Angels in today’s paper. But that’s not the scary part.

This is:
"Criminals are cowards. They strike where it is easy," Landry said. "Criminals are going to move on if they see the Guardian Angels."

That conviction, however, is not universal. The Rev. Tony Talavera, proprietor of the French Quarter Wedding Chapel, called the Angels earlier this year, asking them to set up shop in the French Quarter. But after meeting them, Talavera changed his mind.

"They won't be effective," he said. "They are wasting their resources here. They aren't even armed. The criminals here are going to laugh at them, then rob them."

Talavera is trying to garner attention and support for a new initiative. He wants Blackhawk Protection Service, a Metairie company that employs lethally armed guards, some recently returned from stints in Iraq, to patrol the Quarter.
I missed this WDSU report, and the excellent point made at the end, which was filed in April:
The company, Talavera said, would be Blackhawk Protection Service. Its employees carry guns and are authorized to hold crime suspects until police arrive.

Blackhawk's plan involves a dozen two-man teams patrolling 24 hours a day.

Talavera said the added protection would combat graffiti, car break-ins, robberies and muggings.

Although Blackhawk said 38 businesses and 15 residents have already signed up, Marianne Lewis said she hasn't joined -- and that no one in the French Quarter should have to foot the bill for added safety.

"We've been paying taxes, and part of that is police protection. To put an additional financial burden on small business owners that they have to come up with any fee per month to keep our employees safe and visitors safe -- that's ridiculous," Lewis said.
These guys aren’t police. Their mission is “to provide physical and tactical security services to our clients with integrity, confidentiality and professionalism.” To their *clients.* Not the people.

Local law enforcement, particularly JPSO, is already starting to look like a paramilitary force. The last thing we need is an actual paramilitary force patrolling the streets.

I am sorry that some French Quarter residents feel the police aren't effective. But, they need to focus on *making* the police effective. If neighborhoods resort to buying their safety, then only the neighborhoods that could afford it would have it.

Also, as a point of reference, there has not been a murder this year in the French Quarter as of today. In fact, the French Quarter has been a murder-free island surrounded by a sea of death. I know this doesn't mean that the French Quarter has been free of all crime. But it has been free of the most violent kind.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

“We’re Not Going to Take It Down Until We Get a Legal Opinion”

Judge Jim Lamz, Slidell City Court, on why the court isn’t removing a picture of Jesus with the sentence underneath it “TO KNOW PEACE, OBEY THESE LAWS” from the courtroom lobby, as heard on ABC26 news.

Judge Lamz also said in the report, “I don’t know who it is. I personally thought it might be Moses or some Russian or Greek figure. I wasn’t sure.”

Fair enough. Here’s the pic from ABC26’s website:

Here’s some pics from Google Images:

Russian Jesus.

Greek Jesus.


And, something I came across, Christ the Teacher.

I don’t know. The hand looks a little different. But who am I to judge?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ever Seen an Old Thug?

April 8, 2005:
Members of the New Orleans Police Department have issued an arrest warrant for 19-year-old Jerrell Jackson, wanted in connection with yesterday’s shooting that occurred at the intersection of Lasalle Street and Washington Avenue. The victims were a 19-year-old male and a 20-year-old male whose names are not being released as a security measure.

According to investigators, three males traveled inside of a vehicle at the above mentioned location when a light colored Jeep Cherokee pulled next to their vehicle. The driver of the Jeep Cherokee produced a handgun and fired several gunshots into the vehicle. The driver suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the back and the front seat passenger suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the face and hand. They were transported to a local hospital for treatment and their conditions are unknown. The third occupant, a 19-year-old male, did not report any injuries.

Sixth District Detective Lawrence Dupree conducted an investigation and obtained an arrest warrant for 19-year-old Jerrell Jackson of 3032 South Saratoga Street, relative to three (3) counts of attempted second degree murder, aggravated criminal damage to property and illegal use of a weapon.
July 17, 2005:
This evening, members of the New Orleans Police Department are investigating a series of shootings that results in seven (7) confirmed people wounded in a central city neighborhood. Their ages are from 16 to 61 years of age and their names are not being released as a security measure. The offense occurred shortly after 8:00 p.m., in the intersection of Freret and First Streets.

According to investigators, individuals approached the intersection and began firing multiple gunshots into an area where several persons were standing.


Detectives believe tonight’s shooting was in retaliation for last evening’s murder of a 21-year-old male w ho was shot shortly before 10:30 p.m., inside an SUV at the corner of Phillip and LaSalle Street (one block away).

Two of today’s victims, the 19-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the left torso and the 17-year-old male listed in critical condition had Second Degree Murder Warrants for their arrests and are believed to have been the targets of tonight’s shooting.
July 18, 2005:
New Orleans Police have arrested 19-year-old Darrell Davis, one of the persons believed is responsible for last night’s shooting of seven (7) individuals. The offense occurred July 17, 2005, shortly after 8:00 p.m., in the intersection of Freret and First Streets.

As a result, the following persons were wounded from gunfire; a 16-year-old male wounded in the left arm and in good condition; 19-year-old Jerrell Jackson, was wounded in chest and was treated and released into police custody; 19-year-old Darrell Davis, wounded in the right ankle and in good condition; 18-year-old Tony Simmons, wounded in the thigh and listed as critical; a 22-year-old male wounded in the left arm and in good condition, a 61-year-old female wounded in the right thigh and listed in good condition, an unidentified adult male wounded in the head and listed in critical condition, and possibly an unidentified adult male who received an apparent gunshot wound to the leg and did not seek medical treatment who fled after driving other victims to the Medical Center of Louisiana. His whereabouts are unknown.

Detectives believe that a Ford F-150 approached the intersection when Davis and another male got out and opened fire. Detectives also, at this point, conclude that there was an exchange of gunfire between Davis, his unidentified accomplice and unknown persons. Seven persons reported being shot, including Davis. Investigators are in the process of building cases against Davis’ accomplice and others who were involved in the shooting.

19-year-old Jerrell Jackson and 18-year-old Tony Simmons have been identified and arrested in connection with the shooting death of 21-year-old Damien Gordon which occurred Saturday, July 16, 2005, at LaSalle and Phillip Streets. In this case, the victim was driving in the block when two or more individuals opened fire, striking him in the body. The victim later died at Charity Hospital.
November 20, 2006:
On November 20, 2006, the S/TX U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force arrested Treg EUGENE, 20 years old, in Clear Lake City, Texas. A firearm and narcotics were recovered from the scene where he was arrested. EUGENE, of New Orleans, was wanted by the New Orleans Police Department for a murder that occurred in New Orleans on May 28 of this year.

New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) investigators obtained a warrant for EUGENE for the first-degree murder of Darrell Davis, 20 years old, also of New Orleans. The NOPD investigators allege that Davis was driving in the 2700 block of Monticello St. in New Orleans on May 28 when two gunmen opened fire. Davis’s left arm was hit by a bullet that then entered his body. Davis was able to drive away. After the shooting the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said that two unknown men dropped Davis off at the Ochsner Medical Center at about 4:30 am. Further information by NOPD investigators alleges that EUGENE and Davis were involved in a botched armed robbery attempt of a member of a local rap record label. EUGENE is believed to have shot Davis during this robbery attempt. EUGENE is also believed to be an associate of Ivory “B-Stupid” Harris who was one of the New Orleans area’s most wanted fugitives earlier this year before his capture by Kenner and NOPD officers.
Last Sunday, June 17, 2007:
Jerrell Jackson, 21, was shot Sunday about 6:30 p.m. in Central City in the 2200 block of Josephine Street, between Simon Bolivar Avenue and South Liberty Street. He was pronounced dead at 7:25 a.m. at University Hospital.


Jackson survived a chest wound in a July 17, 2005, shooting, and was shot three times this year, Meisch said.
Jerrell Jackson, arrested for attempted murder in 2005; back on the streets; arrested for murder in 2005; back on the streets; shot a few times; murdered in 2007 at the age of 21. He lived a full thug life.

I am not sure if it is the same Darrell Davis in the above press releases, but the ages do match. If it is the same person, he also lived a full thug life. Arrested in a in a septuple shooting in 2005 (in which both he and Jackson were shot); back on the streets; shot and killed by an accomplice during an armed robbery in 2006 at the age of 20.

I don’t know what else to say.

Rated R for Murder

Dammit. New Orleans' violent crime caused me to go ahead and get tagged with an R rating:

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

Why, oh why?
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
* dead (7x) * murder (5x) * bitch (1x)
Bitch? I don't remember... ohhh. My blogroll.

Via Suspect Device, VatulBlog.

Can’t Blame the Youth

From the written testimony, submitted before the actual testimony, of Chief Judge David L. Bell, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing "Rising Violent Crime in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina" on June 20, 2007:
OPJC presently has six hundred eighty-nine (689) open delinquency cases. From January 1, 2007 through today, the New Orleans Police Department arrested approximately eight-hundred (800) juveniles and the New Orleans District Attorneys Office Juvenile Division filed two hundred and eighty four (284) new delinquency petitions. Based on the new petitions we are seeing significant drug use, which we believe is a result of unaddressed trauma and mental health needs, a direct result of Katrina. For example, 28% of the cases that come before the court are for possession of narcotics.1 Most of the youth appearing before the court, eighty-two percent (82%), are fifteen to seventeen years old (15-17) who have unaddressed educational needs and lack the skills to obtain gainful employment.2

We are seeing an increase in disproportionate minority contact even though the population of New Orleans has changed since Katrina3; ninety-three percent (93%) of delinquency petitions filed are young people of color.4


1 25% burglary/theft/trespass; 15% abuse/assault/battery; 11% robbery; and 9% weapons.

2 0.5% are 8 yrs old; 2% are 11 yrs old; 3.9% are 13 yrs old; 12% are 14 yrs old; 18% are 15 yrs
old; 26% are 16 yrs old; 38% are 17 yrs old, 0.5% are 18 yrs old.

3 47% African American; 43% White

4 79% African American male; 14 % African American female; 2.8% White male .08% White female.
The judge is seeing “significant drug use,” “unaddressed trauma and mental health needs,” and “unaddressed educational needs” in the juveniles that show up in court and they “lack the skills to obtain gainful employment.” And 93 percent of the delinquency petitions filed are for African American youths.

The judge probably doesn’t have statistics for the racial breakdown of the NOPD’s juvenile arrests. But, would anyone be surprised if 93 percent of them were also black?

We are damning a generation of African Americans by neglect.

We are neglecting education in African American neighborhoods. What schools have been closed the longest? How many schools are selective or cap enrollment?

We are neglecting infrastructure in African American neighborhoods. Drive through any of them.

We are neglecting security in African American neighborhoods. The clusters of murders are all in black neighborhoods.

We are neglecting jobs in African American neighborhoods. Nothing new there.

We are neglecting healthcare in African American neighborhoods. Charity? And what about preventive healthcare?

“But, wait,” one might say. “It’s the poor we are neglecting.” Race and poverty dance together in New Orleans.

Why do the numbers keep coming out this way? Look at the faces of the murdered. Overwhelmingly black. Look at the faces of the incarcerated. Overwhelmingly black. Look at the faces of the public housing residents living in substandard housing. Overwhelmingly black. Look at the faces of the public school students in a public school system that was failing before the storm. Overwhelmingly black. Look at the faces of the youths in the juvenile court. Overwhelmingly black.

Look at the faces in New Orleans. They are not overwhelmingly black. New Orleans’ population is no longer 66 percent African American. They are the ones who have not returned, or can not return.

Racial injustice. Neglect. They dance together, too.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Now I Know Why We Hired Him

Recovery director Ed Blakely:
"Rebuilding a city requires people who are very talented in the rebuilding process," Blakely said during a press briefing at City Hall.

More and Less

More of this:
“I’ll sleep next to my hammer drill if I have to,” he said. “There’s a story in this house, and whether it happened over a hundred years ago, or it’s happening now, it has to keep being told. It’s New Orleans culture and I’m just a page in the book.”
Less of this:
As for Tidewater’s future in New Orleans, Taylor said the company is evaluating its options.

“Our plans are to do what’s best for our shareholders,” he said. “Sometimes one wonders ... whether it’s best for our headquarters to remain in Louisiana. From my vantage point, our customer base is in Houston. Houston really is the energy capital of the world. If we’re going to be responsive to our customers ... we need to be close to our customers. So that’s a disadvantage that New Orleans confronts.

“For the time being, we have not made a decision to leave New Orleans.”
These stories are not really related. I just happened to read them one after the other in my inbox.

Finding Better Ways to Blow Up Levees?

Or testing temporary pumps?
Army alerts residents to potential louder than normal explosion

FORT POLK - Residents in the vicinity of the main post of Fort Polk may notice a louder than normal explosion during the week of June 18-22.

The potential noise will be the result of a large detonation that is part of activities conducted here by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Each One Had a Father

Three murders on Father's Day. Thirteen murders in June only seventeen days into the month. Ninety murders in the city of New Orleans in 2007.
88) A man was shot to death around 4 a.m. today, the New Orleans Police Department reported.

The unidentified man was found lying in the street at Gordon and Urquhart Streets by Fifth District officers responding to a report of shots being fired in the area.
He had a gunshot wound to the head. Emergency medical technicians pronounced the man dead on the scene.
89) The first shooting [of the evening], in Central City, occurred about 6:30 p.m. in the 2200 block of Josephine Street, between Simon Bolivar Avenue and South Liberty Street. A man died later Sunday in a hospital, police said.
90) About two hours later Sunday, another fatal shooting occurred in the 1900 block of Esplanade Avenue, between North Prieur and North Johnson streets, at the border between the 7th Ward and the 6th Ward.

Bob Marley Sunday

"Oh oh oh Caution, the road is wet
Black soul is black as jet
Do you hear me
Caution the road is hot
You got to do better than that"

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Behind the Headlines

The headline on
Help with Road Home applications available at churches
Translation: If you haven't applied yet, start praying.

Okay, that's not really what the church article is about. It's about churches helping residents get through the paperwork to apply for the Road Home Program. But, if you are of the religious lot and have not applied yet, a novena might be in order:
Based on most conservative estimates of the shortfall, the aid program is on schedule to run out of money with 41,000 eligible applicants left out in the cold.


There are now more than 145,000 Road Home applicants of which the state expects at least 132,000 to be found eligible for aid from the program. That compares to the original FEMA estimate of 123,000 total properties with major or severe damage. The state also budgeted for an average Road Home grant of $60,000, while the current auditor's estimate is that the average will end up being close to $79,000.
If you read this blog, you know I like numbers. They tell all kinds of stories. Let’s see what stories these numbers tell.

The state has $6.2 billion in community development block grants to use for homeowners in the Road Home Program plus $1.14 billion in hazard mitigation grants from FEMA – $7.34 billion in all. The $1.14 billion from FEMA is being withheld right now, but it must have been included at the beginning to calculate how much money the Road Home Program would have to give to homeowners:
$7.34 billion (estimated money available) divided by 123,000 (estimated households eligible) = $59,674 (average grant per household – rounded up to $60,000)
That equation corresponds to the Times-Picayune’s numbers.

The actual numbers as of June 11, 2007:

Important numbers:
* 145,252 homeowners have applied
* 87,100 benefits have been calculated at an average of $74,214 each, which promises $6.46 billion to homeowners

$6.46 billion is less than the $7.34 billion, which includes the $1.14 billion in hazard mitigation grants, but more than the $6.2 billion in CDBGs. If the state really has $7.34 billion to work with, then there is $940,000,000 left to give out. With the average of $74,214 per household, that means 12,666 more homeowners can have their grants calculated from the original $7.34 billion which the state thought it had at the beginning of the program.

87,100 + 12,666 = 99,766. At this rate, if the state and/or federal governments do not put more money into the Road Home Program, only 99,766 households will receive Road Home grants. That’s 23,234 less than 123,000 households, which was the number used at the beginning of the program to estimate how many homeowners would be eligible. It’s 45,486 less than the 145,252 homeowners who had applied as of last Monday. And the deadline to apply isn’t until July 31, so more are coming.

This isn’t news, but the current allocation of federal money is no where near enough to fully fund the Road Home Program.

Whose fault is this?
The state says the program was underfunded because of inadequate storm damage estimates by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The funding pool was based on those estimates.

But Don Powell, President Bush's Gulf Coast recovery chief, told a congressional committee the state is handing out payments for damage that is excluded under federal guidelines.
Hmmm... You know what? Both the state and Don Powell are right.

The state’s position is that Louisiana got far less money for its program than it needed and far less in comparison to other states, particularly Mississippi. I have commented on this before:
For perspective, consider that in January 2006, one year ago, the first round of Community Development Block Grants was given out.

Mississippi received $5,058,185,000.

Louisiana received $6,210,000,000.

Mississippi got 86.8% more in that first round of CDBGs than it has paid out more than halfway through their housing plan. If we had paid out at the same rate at Mississippi’s lower average payment, we would have used up over half (61%) of our first allocation. In fact, assuming our average calculated payment remains consistent at $82,581, we will completely use up that first allocation about three quarters of the way through our total applications.
In fact, our average payment went down. But, because there are more households eligible than first thought, we have actually used up that first allocation less than 2/3 the way through.

The point remains the same: Mississippi had way more than it needed at the offset, and Louisiana had way less.

Don Powell’s position is that the state gave money to households that weren’t eligible under the federal government’s conception of the plan.

He has made statements in the past that back up this assertion. While announcing hurricane aid in the the 2006 budget, Chairman Powell defined where he thought the CDBGs were going (my emphasis):
Housing. As you know, part of the announcement that was made about 10 days ago, $11.5 billion for CDBG monies. Those grant monies was allocated, $6.2 billion, to Louisiana and $5 billion, a little bit more than $5 billion to Mississippi, and other monies went to the state of Alabama, Florida and Texas.

It's a common objective and a common goal that somehow, we meet the needs of those people, those homeowners that were outside the flood plain whose homes were destroyed. Homeowners outside the flood plain whose homeowners--whose homes were destroyed.


We believe that the CDBG grant money in Louisiana is more than enough money to meet the needs of the homeowners outside the flood plain. we believe that number is somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion dollars, so there would be excess of $5 billion to meet other states within the state. Again, that's meeting the needs of homeowners outside the flood plain whose homes were destroyed.


Chairman Powell: We believe that the CDBG money meets the needs of the uninsured homeowner outside the flood plain.


Question: What about non-homeowners who are inside the flood plain? Are you suggesting that the Federal Government doesn't have a role in assisting them, which is, I think, the goal of the Baker plan?

Chairman Powell: Yeah. People inside the flood plain, obviously insurance was available to those folks, and most of those people either had--a lot of those people had hazard insurance or in fact did have flood insurance; a lot of them did.


Question: How come we have more people being helped in Mississippi, where there were a lot fewer left homeless, than in Louisiana?
And how can you say that that's enough?

Chairman Powell: Well, our focus is on housing, as I mentioned to you. I'm talking about homeowners outside the flood plain.


Chairman Powell: I think it's enough, it's more than enough money to take care of the uninsured homeowners outside the flood plain. And again, Louisiana can direct that money however they deem necessary, so they may want to--whatever plans they come up with, they may want to expand just what I said. That's their option. That's their option to do.


Question: But is it your sense that the private insurance will be adequate to take care of the people of New Orleans, in particular?

Chairman Powell: It's my sense that there's enough CDBG money that will meet the needs of the uninsured outside the flood plain and, again, that's something around [inaudible] billion, and that the state of Louisiana can direct the balance of that money as they see fit, including administering and meeting some of the needs of other homeowners.

Question: So in other words, you expect the one billion to go to the people outside the flood plain who are uninsured, and then Louisiana can take the 5 billion and apply it to people who are living within the flood plain, like in the Lower Ninth or in other--

Chairman Powell: That's true.

Question: Okay.

Chairman Powell: They can do, they can develop whatever plan they want.


Question: Do you think 5 billion will cover people who were within the flood plain?

Chairman Powell: Depends upon the percentage of damage and who had hazard insurance, who had flood insurance. But again, we believe that there's enough CDBG money to meet the needs of the uninsured outside the flood plain [inaudible].

Question: How much was that CDBG money again?

Chairman Powell: $6.2 billion.
I am not sure who “the uninsured homeowners outside the flood plain” are and why he only wanted to help them, but I think it is obvious that Powell felt the federal government’s responsibility was to those homeowners. Powell made it clear that they could be taken care of with the $6.2 billion in CDBGs and that Louisiana could use the rest how it saw fit.

I’m not saying he was right. I am just saying on February 2, 2006, Powell was clear in where he thought the CDBGs were going.

Whose fault is it? I don’t know. But I do know there is a chasm between what the state says it needs from the federal government and what the federal government says the state is going to get.

Just to show you how far apart the state and federal government have gotten over the past year and a half, take these two statements.

The state this week:
Gov. Kathleen Blanco on Friday said she'll meet with key members of Congress next week to ask for $3 billion to $4 billion to help cover the shortfall in the Road Home program, which may only have enough money to pay two thirds of its eligible applicants.

Blanco said nobody can be sure what the exact shortfall is until the last application is received July 31, but she said it will probably be close to the $5 billion estimate offered by Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot.
The federal government in February 2006:
We believe that the CDBG grant money in Louisiana is more than enough money to meet the needs of the homeowners outside the flood plain. we believe that number is somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion dollars, so there would be excess of $5 billion to meet other states within the state.
Blanco says today that we are $5 billion short. Powell said at the beginning that we would have $5 billion extra.

That’s far apart. It seems as if no one has been communicating to anybody this whole time.

That’s everyone’s fault.

And the consequence:
Road Home has already committed more than the $6.2 billion on hand. [Road Home spokeswoman Gentry] Brann said the state had "always implied" that grants would be based on available money and that letters to applicants make that point clear.
St. Jude, pray for us and for all who honor and invoke thy aid...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New York Has a Website

Called the Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder.

New Yorkers can type in their address "to determine if they live in a hurricane flood zone."

Let's try 11 Wall Street.

Oh, dear. It looks like that address is in Zone C:
Residents in Zone C may experience storm surge flooding from a MAJOR (Category 3 & 4) hurricane making landfall just south of New York City. A major hurricane is unlikely in New York City, but not impossible.
That's okay. The New York Stock Exchange isn't that important. Plus, "A major hurricane is unlikely in New York City." Wall Street knows a thing or two about risk.

What risk?
A Category 3 hurricane in New York would behave like a Category 4 in the South. A Northern hurricane typically travels at 34 mph, about triple the speed of a Southern storm.

A major hurricane would produce a storm surge of up to 30 feet, with flooding in all five boroughs, airport and highway closings, and massive traffic jams. The lower Manhattan flood zone for a hurricane making landfall just south of the city includes the World Trade Center site, Wall Street and police headquarters. City Hall - which sits on higher ground and is located toward the middle of Manhattan - might turn into a small island as the East and Hudson rivers converge to its south. If that sounds implausible, remember that it has happened before: A September 1821 hurricane raised tides by 13 feet in an hour and flooded Manhattan from its southern tip to Canal Street.

Today, that would knock out most of Wall Street and many subway lines, and flood tourist spots like South Street Seaport.
Why would anyone build the largest securities market in the country in a flood zone?

NOLA Murder Clusters

Of New Orleans' 87 murders (as of 6/12/07), 75 murders occurred inside the shaded area of the map below. That's 86% of the murders. (NOTE: These are my numbers. If you see any errors, please let me know.)

The twelve murders that did not occur in the shaded area are marked with blue placemarks. Two of those are west of the Industrial Canal. Ten are in N.O. East, including a cluster of five murders in the Little Woods area only blocks away from each other.

Also, there are neighborhoods where murders happen in clusters (more than two close together). This map displays those in the shaded areas, as well as the non-cluster murders as blue placemarks.

The neighborhood clusters:
Mid-City/Treme/7th Ward – 25 murders
Central City – 16 murders
Marigny/Bywater/9th Ward – 12 murders
Algiers/Behrman – 8 murders
Hollygrove/Leonidas – 6 murders
Little Woods – 5 murders
Notice there are five areas outside of the clusters where two murders happened within blocks of each other.

A few conclusions can be made from these maps. I am still working on some. In the meantime, I offer the maps up to the gods of the internets.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Google Map Embed Test

2007 New Orleans Murders

ADDED: This is just a test. As pointed out by Schroeder in the comments, go to for the real thing plus much, much more.

ADDED II: Oh, look. The Times-Pic has a map, too, with more info.

Clarity of Mind

I can’t blame Nagin for trying to find some:
After the group’s founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, visited New Orleans in April, Nagin developed a working partnership with IAHV.

“We will begin to work closely with his holiness (Shankar) and his organizations to identify the specific set of needs for the New Orleans communities,” Nagin said. “For the past 19 months, our adults and youth have endured stress and overwhelming challenges associated with the rebuilding our great city and we are open to review the proposals of his holiness Shankar’s for the achievement of harmony, stress management and clarity of mind.”
First Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Day and now the Mayor planning “to work closely with his holiness.”

My ignorance still prevents me from knowing what to make of this.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Every Blip Hurts

As of June 1, 2007, there have been 77 murders in New Orleans this year. With 151 days in the year completed, that comes to an average of one murder every 1.96 days – basically, a murder every other day. If that average stays the same all year, we will end 2007 with 186 murders. In a city of 255,000 people, that comes to a murder rate of 73 murders per 100,000 residents.

If nothing changes, 109 more human beings will die a violent death on the streets of New Orleans this year. And most of those who die will be African-American men, often young, and almost always they will be shot.

It seems every month is a “blip” or an “uptick.”

January – 17 murders

February – 13 murders

March – 18 murders

April – 14 murders

May – 15 murders:

05/05/07 – 1 murder
63) Troy Dent, 22, of New Orleans, was shot Saturday about 11 p.m. at South Claiborne and Louisiana Avenue, John Gagliano, chief coroner's investigator said.

Dent, who was shot in a car, died Sunday at 5:15 a.m. at Tulane University Hospital, Gagliano said.
05/07/05 – 1 murder
64) An unidentified man wearing a house arrest monitoring device on his ankle was shot to death in a fusillade of bullets which also wounded a 17-year-old boy Monday night in the Lower 9th Ward.

Monday's shooting came after a bloody Sunday during which at least six people were wounded in New Orleans in several unrelated shootings, according to police.
05/08/07 – 1 murder
65) Officers already in the Pigeon Town area heard shots about 7:50 p.m. and found a man lying on the corner of Hickory and Leonidas streets. He was Michael Combs, 39, of New Orleans, chief coroner's investigator John Gagliano said.

Medics tried to revive Combs, but were unsuccessful, according to police spokeswoman Officer Sabrina Richardson. Combs died at the scene on a sidewalk in front of a bar. Richardson did not know if the bar was open. Numerous bullet casings were found on the sidewalk and street near Combs' body.
5/9/07 – 1 murder
66) A 29-year-old man was shot to death Wednesday afternoon in the 7th Ward and another man with whom he was feuding was taken in for questioning in the incident, police said.

Jay Landers, of New Orleans, died of multiple gunshot wounds.
5/11/07 – 1 murder
67) A 23-year-old New Orleans man was shot and killed in the Iberville public housing complex Friday night, police said.

Police received a call at 7:18 p.m. of a man shot, and found Mark Oneal lying in front of a building in the 1400 block of Conti Street, police spokeswoman Officer Jonette Williams said.
05/14/07 - 2 murders
68) Police found the unidentified man dead Monday morning in eastern New Orleans with gunshot wounds to the head. Officers responding to a call to the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Wales Street about 4 a.m. found the man on the ground, officer Jonette Williams said.


Corey Coleman, 21, of New Orleans, was found dead Monday about 6:30 a.m. at Venice and Wales streets. He died sometime early Monday, the coroner's office estimated.
69) And Emanuel Gardner, 17, of New Orleans, was shot in Central City.


In an unrelated incident, Gardner was shot in the chest Monday afternoon in Central City. The shooting occurred shortly before 4 p.m. near the intersection of 7th and Freret streets, police said. The victim was taken to University Hospital, where he died at 9:32 p.m., Gagliano said. An autopsy will be performed today.
05/16/07 – 1 murder
70) A 42-year-old Terrytown man was shot to death early Wednesday, New Orleans police reported.

The incident happened about 1:20 a.m. in the rear parking area of an apartment complex in the 3500 block of Garden Oaks Drive, police said.

The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of family members
According to investigators, Fourth District officers responded to a call of a man shot inside a vehicle. When the officers arrived, they found the man inside a white four-door Hyundai Sonata with several gunshot wounds to the body.


Two days later, Edward Charles Balser, 42, of Terrytown, was shot dead in a car in the 3500 block of Garden Oaks Drive.
05/25/07 – 2 murders
71) A young man riding a bicycle was gunned down Friday afternoon in Central City, putting the city's homicide total this year at 72, police said.

Police, following a report of gunshots, found the victim around 2:25 p.m. face down on the ground near the corner of Second and South Miro streets, officer Sabrina Richardson said.

Arthur Dowell, 18, of New Orleans died at the scene, said John Gagliano, chief investigator for the Orleans Parish coroner's office. Dowell was shot multiple times and fell in a patch of grass alongside the street. He was dressed in a collared white shirt, jeans and basketball shoes. Police said they found a .44-caliber Magnum handgun next to his body.
72) A bar shooting episode in New Orleans left one man dead and another wounded in the leg late Friday night, police said.

The shootings occurred at the Daiquiris Island Bar in the 7900 block of Earhart Boulevard, according to the New Orleans Police Department.

Second District police arrived on the scene shortly after 11 p.m. and found a 22-year-old New Orleans man lying on the sidewalk with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body.
05/27/05 – 2 murders
73) A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed near the route of today's Super Sunday Mardi Gras Indians parade, authorities said.

The slaying happened in the 800 block of N. Dupre, just a block off the parade's Orleans Avenue route.
74) The first shooting happened in the 1200 block of Clouet Street, according to police. Officers from the 5th District received a call around 11 p.m. and found Ernest Williams, of Marrero, suffering from several gunshot wounds to the head and body, according to police. Williams, 24, later died at University Hospital, according to coroner's office.
05/28/07 – 1 murder
75) The second shooting death happened shortly after 1:30 a.m. in the 6400 block of North Villere Street, according to police. A Chalmette man, whose identity has not been released, was shot in an apparent drug buy gone wrong, New Orleans police said.

Officers in the 5th District responded to a call that a man had been shot but he left the scene for a St. Bernard Parish residence. New Orleans detectives met with St. Bernard Parish sheriff's deputies who had just gotten a call from Fourth and Chalmette streets that a man who had been shot arrived at that location, police said. Police arrived to find the victim suffering from several gunshots. He died at a Chalmette emergency medical facility, police said.
05/29/07 – 1 murder
76) A 38-year-old New Orleans man was fatally shot in the head Tuesday morning in the 7th Ward, the latest in a string of fatal shootings across the city.

Shortly before 8 a.m., officers responding to a call of a man down found the victim on the ground in a park near the corner of North Claiborne and St. Bernard avenues, New Orleans police officer Jonette Williams said.

Tuesday's homicide marked the sixth killing in New Orleans since Friday afternoon.
Robert Billiot, 38, of New Orleans, was dead at the scene, said John Gagliano, chief investigator for the Orleans Parish coroner's office. Billiot had been shot once in the head.
05/30/07 – 1 murder
77) A New Orleans cab driver was found shot to death in Algiers this morning.

New Orleans Police said the incident happened around 6:50 this morning in the 3100 block of Rose Lane in the Christopher Homes development.

The 60-year-old Yellow Cab driver died on the scene from a single gunshot wound to the chest, police said.
A Google map of the murders.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

State of the Nagin Address

What he said:
"It's not our fault."
What he meant:
“It’s not my fault.”
What’s not his fault? Oyster elaborates:
Re-electing Ray Nagin was an awful, horrible blunder for New Orleans-- for myriad reasons-- but Nagin's commitment to a Police Chief who can't control crime is at the top of the list.
Yes, can’t control crime. Mr. Nagin, you and your appointee can’t control crime. Especially violent crime. Nor can you explain it away:
On the issue of public safety, Nagin said "crime stats are trending in a positive direction comparing first quarter of 2007 to the last quarter of 2006." He said the city has installed 87 cameras in crime hot spots and is on pace to reach its goal of 200 by year's end.


Nevertheless, the mayor admitted that the murder problem is not under complete control. He referred to spikes in the body count as "blips" and noted that "we had one this weekend."
A blip? This weekend’s blip included five murders from Friday afternoon to Sunday night.

Mr. Nagin continues to mention blips or upticks when discussing our incredibly high murder rate. Let me express these blips and upticks in a different way.

May 30, 2007, the day Nagin gave his State of the City address, was 150 days into the year. As of that day, 77 people were murdered (by my count) on the streets of New Orleans. That is an average of one murder every 1.94 days. A murder every other day.

The “blips” are not anomalies. They are analogous to a murder every other day in the city of New Orleans. Is that trending in a positive direction?

We have a little more than half the pre-Katrina population in the city but 3/4 the pre-Katrina violent crime. Is that trending in a positive direction?

Wait... Wait... I know what you're going to say.

Hey, man. It’s not my fault.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crazy Man Tries to Fill Post-Katrina Leadership Void in NOLA

No, not Nagin:
A fashion writer accused of sexually abusing a former co-worker while dressed as a firefighter hoped to go to New Orleans and lead a gang of angry Hurricane Katrina survivors, a psychologist testified Monday.


"He talked about going to New Orleans because he thought there were a lot of angry people down there and he could provide them some kind of leadership," Barr testified.
Even an insane sexual abuser can tell we've got leadership problems down here.

Crime Numbers

In March 2007, the NOPD released crime statistics for 2006 and lauded them for showing a reduction in crime compared to the year before:
The uniform crime report statistics show a 22 percent reduction in violent crime when compared to 2005 statistics, according to NOPD spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse.

Nonviolent crime dropped about 25 percent.

"In most categories you see a reduction in crime," Narcisse said.

Asked whether the statistics offer a fair assessment considering the post-storm chaos and radical reduction in population, Narcisse said the numbers speak for themselves.

"It is what it is," he said. "We may be able to (attribute) some of the reduction to Katrina."
It is what it is.

This week, the NOPD released their official crime stats for the first quarter of 2007. Compared with the same time period last year, there is no overall reduction to be lauded. In fact, violent crime is up 107 percent – more than double.

Hey NOPD, is it still what it is?
The NOPD did not return repeated requests for comment on the statistics Monday.
Wait, don’t tell me. Some of the increase in violent crime may be attributed to an increase in population, right?
Scharf, a frequent critic of the NOPD, called the city's murder rate alarming because it is a marked increase over the previous year without a corresponding increase in population.

A study recently released by GCR & Associates Inc. placed the city's population at 255,137 for March 2007. For January 2006, the start of the same quarter last year, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 158,353 were living in New Orleans. That's a population increase of 62 percent.

"You are 182 percent higher (in murders) than last year with a population that hasn't grown at that rate," Scharf said.
What the NOPD said last year [scroll down] around this time:
Although crime in New Orleans has risen as the population grows, the city is still much safer than it was before Hurricane Katrina, police Superintendent Warren Riley announced Friday as he revealed the city's first-quarter crime statistics.

The number of violent crimes reported to police -- murders, rapes, robberies, shootings, stabbings and other serious assaults -- was down by 64 percent in the first three months of this year [2006], compared with the same period last year [2005], Riley said.

The number of murders and armed robberies was down, each by about 74 percent, and nonviolent crime was down about 52 percent, Riley said.

Anticipating the argument that the decrease was insignificant because population is dramatically down in the city, Riley produced figures that he said show that even adjusting for the lower population, violent crime is still down about 26 percent and nonviolent crime about 1 percent, compared with the first quarter of last year. The figures are based on crimes per every 100,000 residents.
Maybe the first three months of this year was one of those “upticks” Mayor Nagin told us about.

Here’s the scary part. Let’s compare the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2005, the last Jan-Feb-Mar period when the city was at full pre-Katrina population.
First Quarter 2007

Murder - 48
Rape - 14
Armed Robbery - 190
Simple Robbery - 54
Assault - 447

Total = 753

First Quarter 2005

Murder - 65
Rape - 44
Armed Robbery - 284
Simple Robbery - 85
Assault - 530

Total = 1008
In the first quarter of 2007, total violent crime was down 25 percent from the first quarter of 2005. The only thing is, there were *almost twice as many people* in New Orleans in 2005. With around 56 percent (255,000) of the pre-Katrina population (455,000), we had 75 percent of the *total* pre-Katrina violent crime.

Using the “per 100,000 residents” method that Riley used in May 2006 to claim a 26 percent reduction in violent crime in the first quarter of 2006 as compared with the first quarter of 2005, the numbers say that violent crime is up 33 percent in the first quarter of 2007 (295 violent crimes per 100,000 residents) as compared to the first quarter of 2005 (221 violent crimes per 100,000 residents).

Assuming a first quarter 2006 population of 200,000 residents in New Orleans, violent crime is up 62 percent per 100,000 residents in the first quarter of 2007 (295 violent crimes per 100,000 residents) as compared to the first quarter of 2006 (182 violent crimes per 100,000 residents).

These comparisons aren’t really good for anything except showing that violent crime is not going down in 2007 when compared to the same time period after the storm *or* before the storm - on a per resident basis. But look at how close we are to the pre-Katrina total numbers of violent crime with around half the population. No numbers or formulas can make that look good.