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Mayor Landrieu calls on state, feds in light of Bourbon St. shootings

Asks state, feds for help



  Mayor Mitch Landrieu stood with city officials at City Hall July 1 to make a "clarion call to every level of government to protect our streets." Landrieu's press conference was the mayor's first following the Bourbon Street shootings that left one dead and nine people injured in the early morning of June 29.

  Landrieu asked Gov. Bobby Jindal for a permanent staffing of 100 Louisiana State Police officers; he also sent letters to President Barack Obama, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and other federal agencies to remind the federal government of its "obligation to help stem this national epidemic." The letter demanded a "surge team" of federal law enforcement as well as the restoration of the federal COPS program and harsher penalties for the illegal use of a firearm.

  New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Ronal Serpas said there were two shooters and two firearms. That night (during a "non-event weekend"), there were 27 NOPD officers serving the 8th District, Serpas said; nine were on Bourbon Street, and four of those were mounted police.

  In a statement the next day, Mike Glasser, president of the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO), cast doubt on the impact of those numbers. "While the city administration throws out seemingly large numbers of officers on duty in the 8th District," Glasser wrote. Spread those numbers out and see how many were really on duty and assigned on and around Bourbon Street itself."

  Glasser also took exception to Landrieu's assertion that shootings are a "national pandemic," saying that such things don't happen in New York's Times Square or on Memphis' Beale Street because "popular tourist areas like them are typically heavily protected and patrolled, unlike the New Orleans Vieux Carre."

  On July 2, Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson said Landrieu's request for 100 officers may be difficult, but he is willing to work on a more manageable number.

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