Tag Archives: lakeview

Members of the NOPD search the Lakeview neighborhood for a group of suspected car burglars in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. STAFF PHOTO BY MAX BECHERER

Obvious Disparate Neighborhood Policing Strategies

New Orleans       The headline may have said that Iran sent twenty missiles at two Iraqi bases where US troops and materials were stationed, but the picture in my local paper was equally disturbing.  It showed New Orleans police officers armed to the gills with machine guns, armored vests, and helmets were seen with police dogs swarming around a pink house under a bold headline claiming, “LAKEVIEW LOCKDOWN.”

Please understand that the Lakeview neighborhood is not your typical New Orleans neighborhood in a city that is two-thirds African-American.  It is not the gated and stately uptown of old money, but the largely white, solidly upper-middle class of families and professionals, safely ensconced near Lake Ponchartrain.  Flooded after the levee on the 17th street canal failed during Hurricane Katrina, Lakeview had been the neighborhood that led the recovery because its families had the financial resources, while other areas lagged behind while forced to wait for federal funds and insurance payments, often deliberately slow.

What in the world was happening?  Was Lakeview under assault? Had the Iranians come after Lakeview?  Were serial killers loose on the streets?

No, there was an attempted car break-in.  Really, a car break-in?

No, not really it turns out there were some teens testing car doors to see if they were unlocked close to 9 am in the morning.  A New Orleans plainclothes detective saw a suspicious car they were riding and “opened fire,” claiming the car had backed up towards him.  Got this?  A cop without a uniform opened fire on a suspicious car over some aspiring car burglars. The teens ran for it, and “a radio call saying an officer was in danger sent dozens of police cars speeding into Lakeview, lights flashing, to block off streets and begin a search that went on for hours.”  Despite the breathless coverage of the incident, the reporter couldn’t help allowing the sense of overkill to seep into his reporting that “The massive response to a car burglary, a crime that happens more than a dozen times a day across the city, closed several neighborhood blocks, put four schools on lockdown, left residents confined to their homes and eventually resulted in the arrest of a second suspect…”  Buried in the article was the fact that no weapons were ever found on the suspects nor was there any report of them having fired weapons.

In the Ninth Ward, equally iconic after Hurricane Katrina because of the storm damage and the recovery which is still a long way from being complete, every day the Nextdoor app neighborhood watchers and commenters are reporting car lock jiggles, break-ins, and, let’s be frank, actual car thefts.  Police wouldn’t get out of their cars or bother to stifle a yawn if they got a call reporting teens on the street, much less scramble the troops, and fire away in any of these neighborhoods.  Of course, a big reason is that many would not bother to call, since we also know that the habit of the New Orleans police firing first and investigating later would more likely lead to a body count in the majority black areas of the city.

Rarely are the racially disparate police strategies for neighborhood policing so starkly obvious.  I wish we could believe that there are lessons we are learning from this.


Please enjoy Think of Me by Neil Young.

Thanks to KABF.


Money Paid, People Missing in New Orleans

20_2_177_img_6New Orleans The Louisiana Recovery Authority has not been able to track compliance on Road Home recovery grants to homeowners to rebuild, but fortunately a non-profit, Beacon of Hope, did so though at least in the affluent area of Lakeview, but it’s not good news.  Seems of 1800 homes they surveyed nothing has been done in 500 of the lots, which are either now vacant or still in post-Katrina condition.  In about 50 of those situations, the homeowners signed covenants with the state that should have meant that within 5 months they were finished and home.  Not happening.

This is going to be a mess and the finger pointing will be hard, but probably not productive.  Ex-Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) had been doling the money out on an installment basis as various rebuilding steps were completed.  This was painfully slow and rightly occasioned huge complaints and delayed recovery because the bureaucracy, subcontracted out to private vendors, was hopeless and inefficient.  George Bush’s HUD muscled up Blanco so that finally homeowners got upfront, complete grants to rebuild.

The original homeowner signed a covenant with the state that gave them a fixed period of time to get the work done.  Some may have sold their lots, taken the money, and run.  It is unclear that the covenants are enforceable on anyone but the original owner, who is likely a long gone pecan.

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