U.S. Sen. John Kennedy has lately been critical of New Orleans’ crime rate and Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s crimefighting strategy, giving an interview to Fox 8 News and writing a guest column for NOLA.com on the subject. "Crime is stealing the soul of New Orleans," Kennedy wrote. "It's choking the life and livelihood out of it. I used to live in New Orleans, and now I'm a little scared to go for a walk there. Our mayor seems preoccupied with other things and other ambitions,” Among the remedies Kennedy has suggested is implementation of a "stop-question-frisk" policy for the New Orleans Police Department.
Today Landrieu fired back, citing what he saw as the city's accomplishments since he's been in office. "Murder and violent crime rates are down over 60 percent from their historic peak in the 1990s," he said in a statement. "I have been to too many funerals and consoled too many mothers at crime scenes, for a career politician like John Kennedy to pander from the peanut gallery, especially when he can actually do something to help."
(Both Kennedy and Landrieu have been involved in Louisiana politics since the late 1980s.)
Kennedy even brought up New Orleans' violent crime rate today during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for FBI Director Christopher Wray, "We have an extraordinary crime problem in New Orleans," he said in a statement after the hearing. "The city is rapidly becoming the murder and armed robbery capital of the western hemisphere. Something needs to change before New Orleans becomes the next Detroit.”
As one of the most powerful elected officials in the United States and as a member of the Senate Appropriations and Judiciary Committees, there is much you can do to help. In fact, I sent you a letter on March 31, 2017, detailing ways the federal government can help to make our streets safe. Not only have you not responded to my letter, but you have not taken one concrete step toward making our city, state, or the nation safer.
But that should come as no surprise to those who have watched your career over the decades. You have always been the complainer-in-chief rather than a doer of deeds. For someone that worked so hard and tried so many times to become a U.S. Senator, your successes in the first six months in office does not give me hope for the next six years.
Landrieu, who is term-limited, will be out of office next year. Kennedy's name has been repeatedly floated as a Republican challenger to Gov. John Bel Edwards in the 2019 gubernatorial race.