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.