Crime, corruption, racism, violence and hurricane damage has given New Orleans the reputation as a dangerous tourist attraction. The recent shootings on Mother's Day on Frenchman Street did not do much to change that reputation.
As bullets flew, 19 people were injured. Three suspects were seen fleeing the scene, but, as of this writing, only Akein Scott, 19, and his brother, Shawn Scott, 24, have been accused in the shootings. They share reputations as possible Seventh Ward gang members with records for drug use and firearms violations. Others who may have harbored the suspects have also been arrested. Some New Orleans gang members are suspected of crimes in other cities.
Mayor Landrieu is urging the public to come forth with any information that could help authorities identify any other suspects in criminal activities in Louisiana or elsewhere. There is also a strong desire by the residents of New Orleans to discourage hoodlums and thugs from taking over city streets. Those individuals who go about local streets on a special day like Mother's Day shooting innocent people must be brought to justice. Such a senseless shooting does not reflect the true character of the majority of New Orleans residents.
Citizens of New Orleans do not wish a reputation as living in "a God-forsaken place" famous for drugs, crime and violence. New Orleans wasn't always this way.
How time flies. Years ago when I visited New Orleans my memories were not about crime. I recall the city as a unique place that straddles the Mississippi River, named for Philippe d'Orleans, Duke of Orleans and a Regent of France. I went there to listen to jazz, eat good food in local restaurants and attend festivals like Mardi Gras. I enjoyed the interesting architecture, the housing styles like Creole cottages, townhouses, antebellum homes and the Victorian mansions.
Tourists probably never forgot their visits to the French Quarter, Canal Street, Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, Cafe du Monde and Preservation Hall. They also have seen the severe damages of storms like Katrina and can appreciate efforts being made to rebuild the once proud city.
All Americans wish the people of New Orleans the best of luck in remaking their image and regaining their reputation as a safe place for a family vacation.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.