Each year we offer a list of suggested New Year's resolutions for prominent New Orleanians and public figures and entities. While we recognize it would be naive to expect many of these suggestions to be followed, we remain ever optimistic as we look ahead to 2012. Here goes:
Mayor Mitch Landrieu — If he succeeds as mayor, Hizzoner's legacy will not be economic and cultural development, though both are important, but rather a long-term, significant reduction in New Orleans' murder rate. His plans for 2012 sound impressive, but our city's murder rate for 2011 was nonetheless higher than that of 2010. His poll numbers remain high, but his extended honeymoon is over. There is nothing more important that he and NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas could do this year than bring the murder trend down. Nothing.
NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas — See Mayor Landrieu's resolution, to which we'll add: fewer sound bites and more sound policing practices. The chief's rant after the shooting of 24-month-old Keira Holmes days before her second birthday was a classic case of grabbing headlines while dodging responsibility. Accountability and trust were among the things the chief promised upon his arrival. He needs to work harder to restore both. Also this year, we expect to see him fully implement the federal consent decree that City Hall is negotiating with the U.S. Department of Justice. We're all tired of having to explain that the majority of our cops are good when a significant minority of them are clearly corrupt and unfit for the jobs they hold.
Gov. Bobby Jindal — Hey, Governor, remember us here in New Orleans? Economic engine for the state? We'd like to see more of Jindal in 2012. He managed to make it to town last June when national GOP stars (and political media) came for the Republican Leadership Conference, and he came back in October when Mercedes-Benz bought naming rights to the Superdome. But last April, when ground was broken for the LSU-VA hospital complex — the economic engine for New Orleans in the 21st century — he was nowhere to be found. Note to the governor: Your book tour is over. You're not going to be president. Or vice president. Get to know more of Louisiana. You might like it.
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten — Don't stop swinging. Never stop swinging.
Sen. David Vitter — When he couldn't run as a family-values politician any more, he pivoted and became the anti-Barack Obama. Enough playing to the Tea Party. He represents all of Louisiana, and he should start acting like it.
The Louisiana Democratic Party — Democrats bottomed out in 2011 when they couldn't even field a viable candidate for governor — or any other statewide office. Now it's time to rebuild. Local Democratic lawmakers work together to get things done; the state party should copy that.
The Louisiana Republican Party — The GOP made a generational change by moving Louisiana solidly into the "red" column. Now the party has to decide if the Tea Party is going to drive the Republican bus or ride along. The yo-yo poll numbers for this year's GOP presidential candidates offer a clue as to what most voters think.
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews — We've watched him grow from a little kid with a big trombone to a leading figure in contemporary jazz, and it only took two albums. Jazz alone probably isn't big enough to contain his talent. The sky is the limit for him now. All we ask is that he not forget his hometown.
The New Orleans Hornets — Despite some ham-fisted machinations by the NBA in the off-again, off-again, on-again trade of Chris Paul, the Bees showed a lot of class in the run-up to their Dec. 26 opening game — which they won by a score of 85-84 against the Phoenix Suns (a fact overshadowed by the Saints-Falcons matchup). General manager Dell Demps and coach Monty Williams should stay the course and rebuild the team this year. We're still in.
The New Orleans Saints — Remember those rings you got for us in early 2010? Not to be greedy, but we'd like another set. Thanks, guys, for all you do on and off the field.
And to all our readers in print and online: Happy New Year!