"Nobody told me there'd be days like these..."
There is a strange atmosphere in the city this week--strange, even for New Orleans. As we prepare for the huge play off game in the Superdome this Saturday, our joy is diminished by the pain of the recent rash of crime. I notice they only cite New Orleans murders in the stats too--I wonder what the numbers truly are when you calculate the highest murder rate in neighborhing Jefferson Parish in twenty years. I am very glad to see the citizens rally in indignation though. I'm very pleased to note that we finally found Mayor Ray Nagin. I'm delighted that Governor Blanco has decided to send in additional troups to assist during carnival season. Neighborhood watch groups are springing up as quickly and surprisingly as the sunflowers that bloomed in the debris last spring. People are talking about a different way. The clergy is talking about activities for teens, some of whom know no other way of life but drugs and crime.
I'm really happy about that. I know my house has been oddly quiet of late. Normally it is a haven for my kids' friends, but the pervasive fear has prompted parents to put their children on lockdown--sad victims of a system gone awry.
Public workers are being trained and prompted to look for suspicious activity. Every state and city worker from meter readers to ditch diggers is unofficially deputized, as they are instructed to report to their superiors anything remotely askew.
No official curfew has been placed, but the citizens of New Orleans have been forewarned that after two a.m., random drug and alcohol checks will be in place throughout the city, as well in neighborhing Jefferson Parish. And all of this is good.
But I know that while all of this is indeed very, very, good, none of this will work until every citizen takes on the personal responsibility to take back these streets, one house, one corner at a time.
I know it can be done.
Because we took this one back.
I said goodbye to a lot of old "friends"--because I no longer wanted to be part of the problem, and as long as I chose my associations carelessly, I was a contributor to crime.
And naw, I haven't grown angel wings folks.
But I did want you all to see that there are some very good people left here in New Orleans--I wanted you all to see that "the city that care forgot" has remembered to care.
Don't dismiss the lot of us because of the bad reputation of a few. And nod, watch and learn, because what is happening here, could soon be coming to neighborhood near you.
I'm proud of my people today. (And thank you Sharon, for helping with the link.)
and Geaux Saints.