In a grim irony, one of those injured in the New Orleans Mother’s Day shooting had lamented the violence committed by, in her words, “the men of my tribe.”
Deborah Cotton is a “multimedia journalist and cultural advocate” who was one of 19 injured when a gunman opened fire on attendees at a Mother’s Day parade.
Last year, in filmed commentary, Cotton said, “As a black woman I have a particular investment in seeing the men of my tribe do better.”
A picture, released by police, shows that the suspect is black.
The shooting took place at the end of the Mother’s Day parade, in a part of the parade known as the second line. The second line is an informal group that follows behind the official main parade.
The New Orleans second line parade organizers are named Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club. The Club released a statement saying, “We feel embarrassed that the world is now viewing our city and our community through a lens of violence.”
However, it didn’t take last weekend’s shootings that injured 19 for some to view the city through a lens of violence. In fact, citizens of New Orleans indicated in a Kaiser Foundation poll that crime was the city’s most serious problem. Crime even ranked ahead of the economy and unemployment.
A report funded by the Department of Justice shows an unexpected aspect of New Orleans crime. As U.S. cities go, New Orleans has a lower level of violent crime and property crime than U.S. cities of similar size. However, for the specific violent crime of murder, New Orleans stands out with the highest murder rate in the country.
Of New Orleans homicide victims, 86.5 percent were male, and 91.5 percent were black. Seventy-three percent of victims had a criminal history. 46 percent of the victims had “no gainful employment,” while 30 percent were of unknown employment, according to the DOJ report. Half of homicide victims were under the age of 27.
Of known homicide offenders, 97 percent are black, and 56 percent were not employed, with 27 percent of unknown employment. Eighty-three percent of known suspects had criminal histories.
Whites are 31 percent of the population, and blacks make up 66 percent of New Orleans’ population.
Some sections of New Orleans have the same life expectancy as that found “in sub-Saharan African nations such as Cameroon and Angola,” according to the Times-Picayune, New Orleans’ major paper.
Violence in New Orleans has prompted at least one state politician, Democrat Rep. Austin Badon Jr., to ask for the National Guard to return.
Edward J. Blakely was appointed by former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to be director of the Office of Recovery and Development Administration after Hurricane Katrina.
In his book, “My Storm: Managing the Recovery of New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina,” Blakely wrote:
To reassure blacks who worried that post-storm New Orleans would become majority white after three decades of black demographic and political domination, Mayor Nagin used the term “chocolate city.”
There were massive changes made to public housing following hurricane Katrina, including the tearing down of large public housing units.
To replace those units, the federal government invested heavily with community development block grants and “Gulf Opportunity Zone” tax credits. Liberals have criticized the resulting development, because it does not contain enough affordable housing, and enriches private developers in the process.
“This new rebuilding class is seen as working in alliance with white elites to disenfranchise a shrinking black majority,” writes Jordan Flaherty at Truthout.
2012 actually saw a reduction in murders in New Orleans, down to 193 from 199 in 2011. 2012 was highlighted by a stretch of 18 days without a murder, “the longest such stretch in recent memory in the city,” according to the Times-Picayune.