Via Nola.com (emphasis added):
Responding to a TV reporter’s question about whether New Orleans’ murder rate hurts the city’s tourism economy, Mayor Ray Nagin on Thursday called the phenomenon a “two-edged sword.”
“Do I worry about it? Somewhat. It’s not good for us, but it also keeps the New Orleans brand out there, and it keeps people thinking about our needs and what we need to bring this community back. So it is kind of a two-edged sword. Sure it hurts, but we have to keep working everyday to make the city better,” Nagin said, according to a transcript of provided by FOX8.
Jeff Crouere, a politcal commentator, slams Nagin here:
These comments are incredibly foolish. So, Nagin is only “somewhat” worried about the city being the Murder Capital of the nation? This statement explains his lack of action and his abdication of leadership on the most critical problem facing New Orleans. Back in January, after the historic anti-violence march on City Hall, Nagin was singing a different tune and pledging that fighting murder would be his number one priority. As the carnage on the streets can attest, he has spectacularly failed in dealing with his supposed main concern. So far in 2007, according to the Orleans Parish Coroner’s office, 121 people have been killed, which puts the city on track to easily surpass last year’s total of 162 murders. It is unfathomable that Nagin is less concerned about a problem that has become worse throughout the year and one that he has unfortunately not addressed effectively.
With such comments, it seems that Nagin subscribes to the policy that any publicity is good publicity, even if it is news about the horrific murder rate. Does Nagin really believe that the bad news about the murder rate will lure businesses or conventions here or even tourists? Let’s see, Baghdad is in news constantly, do people want to travel there for their next vacation? Of course not, and many people feel the same way about New Orleans.
When asked about the killing this week of the notorious Phillips brothers, Demond and Michael, who were linked to 18 murders in New Orleans, Nagin said “It is unfortunate that they had to die, but it did kind of end the cycle that we were struggling with.”
Mr. Mayor, the cycle of violence will continue until the city implements law enforcement strategies that work and has a criminal justice system that is not a revolving door. The killers will not just kill each other into oblivion, thus erasing murders altogether, since new murderers are being recruited on the streets of New Orleans everyday.
New Orleans needs more community activists, religious leaders, business owners and politicians speaking out against this crime wave. There should be marches on City Hall continually until Mayor Nagin and the other political leaders of New Orleans truly make the crime problem the number one priority of city government. To effectively deal with this urgent situation, New Orleans needs more than just rhetoric, but politicians who are committed to dealing with an out of control murder rate. The high murder rate is not “somewhat” of an issue or a “blip,” as Nagin stated in his “State of the City” address, but, in fact, an ever growing crisis that threatens the very survival of New Orleans .