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Whites Protest Murder Rate In New Orleans

From CBS News:

Big Easy Homicides Soar

Waist-Deep In Urban Decay, Katrina-Ravaged City Sees Wave Of Murders

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 11, 2007

(CBS) In New Orleans today, there was a rare sight: A predominately white crowd in the predominately black city, marching in what organizers called a "war protest."

It wasn’t the war in Iraq they were protesting, CBS News national correspondent Byron Pitts reports, but the one in one of America’s most-beloved cities.

"We have come to declare that a city could not be drowned in the waters of the storm will not be drowned in the blood of its citizens," says Rev. John Rafael, a New Orleans resident.

Since June, homicides in New Orleans have soared to a rate of 90 killings per 100,000 residents, according to the University of New Orleans. Compare that with the national average of 5.6 murders per 100,000 residents.

Residents like Nora Natale are fed up.

It took the recent murder of a local schoolteacher and a documentary movie maker for Natale and her neighbors to say enough is enough.

"More so than the death of a white woman, it was the death of a mother just like that. The death of a father; people who were murdered in front of their children," Natale says.

Add to the murder rate that nearly 18 months after Katrina’s floodwaters receded, New Orleans is still waist-deep in urban decay. The unemployment rate for returning evacuees is 7 percent, and 49 percent of the schools are still closed, according to the Brookings Institution.

"When you add crack cocaine and the AK-47, you have New Orleans today," says James Bernazzani of the FBI.

Most of the murders have been drug-related. While the criminals have come back after Katrina, many of the city’s working class simply can’t afford to. So a non-profit organization had an idea.

Today, while the demonstrators were downtown, Halena Cunningham’s non-profit foundation was showing a group of investors around a neighborhood —investors who will help fund affordable housing.

"It will impact the overall successful recovery," says Cunningham, with the NHP Foundation.

But for many hear the fear remains when it comes to reducing the city’s murder rate; is it Mission: Impossible?

You see they are killing each other because unemployment is at 7 percent.

That must be it.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, January 12th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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