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Clay

I've got the perfect location: Six Flags New Orleans and here's why:

* Heavily flooded and shouldn't be rebuilt? Check

* Away from populated areas? Check

* Easily isolateable? Between the limited number of bridges across the Industrial Canal and the intrinsic entry/exit security of any theme park, BIG CHECK.

* IT'S OWNED BY THE CITY AND NOBODY WANTS IT!!!

Maitri

Great post, Ashley. The "civilized" powers-that-be will never go for it, but then they don't live in the same world the rest of New Orleans does.

Clay

All sorts of info (including ownership by city):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Flags_New_Orleans

Cade Roux

I'm totally with you, but the feds won't let it happen - they'll take away highway funding or whatever - it's not like we're even getting a fraction of what we should be getting. Secession is the only way forward now.

Clay

Well, let the feds throw there fit. In the meantime, it will decrease crime. Also, when they do follow through on their threat, it will be easy enough to just clear the whole lot out in one massive sweep. I'm sure the state would loan a few hundred guardsmen for a week to help out in the eventual cleanup.

Clay

(by clean out, I mean arrest, not "Danziger-ize")

G Bitch

The first time I saw Hamsterdam, I knew it was meant for NO.

Sophmom

"Well, let the feds throw their fit. In the meantime, it will decrease crime." I've thought this too, Clay, when thinking about decriminalization or de facto decriminalization. If it did enough to remedy the problem, which seems severe enough to justify it, even amidst resistance, the feds might just look the other way, or take their own sweet time addressing it.

bigshot

Amen, Ashley.

GentillyGirl

As long as the Feds and cops leave us gentle freaks alone, I'm all for it.

Michael

I agree. Hamsterdam for people who want hard drugs, combined with a general tolerance of pot & hashish...Soliciting prostitutes isn't my thing, but if you want to get even more like Amsterdam, fine by me.

I actually did spend one night (alas, only one) in Amsterdam, an overlay between flights...with no complaints, mind you. Getting from Schiphol to the city center was a piece of (space) cake, and my only "complaint" was that I had to pay first world prices (I'd spent the previous week and a half in Morocco).

At closing time, someone speaking lightly accented English said, very softly, "Excuse me, but it is 2 am, will you kindly put out your joints and exit, please. If you want to stay out longer, there are discos open until 4..." etc.

Everything was pleasantly low key--except for the porn shops, which were too garishly lit for the surroundings, but that made them easy to steer clear of, at least. Shit, even the panhandlers were tolerable, although one (an American) pissed me off a bit for forgetting he'd already begged us for spare change.

At least he didn't try to bet that he knew where I got my shoes...

Richard P.

This post should have been broken into more than one post.

There's a separate issue which needs attention in how now there are already stories in the media of law enforcement hyping up what they have allegedly accomplished with the new checkpoints strategy.

This strategy is the wrong idea, the wrong approach. It's just more of the same police hassle when what is needed is something entirely new. What's needed is law enforcement reaching out, building a bridge to the community that they're supposed to be serving rather than just constantly treating the community like naughty children.

Puddinhead

I'd assumed the tongue was firmly in the cheek when I first read this...until I got to the string of comments endorsing the concept. Wrong-headed on more levels than you could imagine...and just the sort of thing that has kept New Orleans in the situation it's always found itself in. I'm surprised this came out of you, Ashley; I don't expect you to be the type to want to set real-world policy based on fictional drama. That's always seemed to be more the province of the right wing Charles Bronson/Dirty Harry/Rambo crowd.

You should know that here in NOLA we've ALWAYS already used this approach in the past, albeit not to the extent you're laying out here. We've ALWAYS felt it was just fine as long as the dealers stayed in "their" parts of town, and we "knew" that as long as we stayed out of their area we were reasonably safe. Of course this condemned those who lived in large parts of town to marginal living (compared to the "select" members of our citizenry who could afford to live in the really "safe" parts of town) because after all, who wants to live in an area that's a high-crime area...or next to a high-crime area...or a few years down the line, next to the neighborhood that no one will invest in because it's next to the high-crime area. You get the picture.

So we figuratively (or perhaps you mean literally) put a barbed wire fence around a specified sacrificial neighborhood (sorry for all you folks who own property in or nearby, but we have to make sure those folks in those "safe" neighborhoods still have their piece-of-mind and don't have to live with the same crap those of us in the "rest" of the city have always been putting up with), and set up some checkpoints where we can make sure the dealers going to and from the "office"--not to mention all of their customer base coming in and out from "Safetown"--aren't packing their pieces.

Now we've got dealers whose territory was spread out across the entire city concentrated into one small, restricted zone. I'm sure there will be no "business disagreements" among the entrepeneurs within, and if there were, these gentlemen would NEVER wait until they were OUT of the zone and back into the city in general (and better armed) to settle such minor differences as who had the right to occupy a particular corner. Uh-uh...Just like in the fictional drama, we can count on drug dealers to keep their part of the bargain and suddenly become honorable businessmen who will turn to the civil court system when Beanie infringes on their regular customers once too often (after they done tol' his sorry ass to get off da block) rather than the tried and true drive-by when Beanie leaves that Treme corner bar he goes to every Tuesday.

karen boudreaux

Puddin head has a number of good points. Although I understand the frustration that Ashley feels.

Puddinhead is right that there has always been "zones" in the city where violent crime has occured. And we all felt safe in the city because the violence was occuring somewhere else to someone else. Morally I feel some guilt about that but its how many of us felt prior to Katrina.

I feel the reason its all over the city now is because the part of the city where violent crime occured are on their way to being demolished or are washed away. So now its in our face and we have to deal with it.

Problem is, those commiting the crime feel no fear. Not enough cops, not enough prosecution. They feel invincible. The question is, what do we do about this. I really don't know and that bothers me. We are facing a problem that we turned a blind eye to in the past and now it could be said it's coming to bite us in the ass.

How to fix a broken system? Where to start. I'm afraid this may be a problem that is too much for the political bullshit we've tolerated for too long. We've always found amusement in our political system and politicians. We tolerated their ineptness. Now it's not funny. But generations of bringing in corrupt and ineffectual leadership has taken its toll. And now it seems the city doesn't know what effectual leadership looks like.

This is a problem bigger than any we've encountered. Question is how long it will take for behavior to be unlearned.

Will

Karen,

We're not merely "tolerating" politicians who brought us this problem. We're demanding more of the same at every election...or at least enough of us are that the rest of us don't matter.

It's a mistake to think that volient criminals are released over and over with charges dropped in 24 hours because our politicians are "inept." The New Orleans "misdemeanor murder" is no accident. It is the voters getting what they want.

Nothing will every change as long as it's left to the voters in New Orleans. Look at how long the School Board was allowed to brazenly steal money from schoolchildren to line the pockets of family memebers. New Orleans voters did nothing, and we'd still be in the same spot to day if there wasn't a statewide vote authorizing takeover of failing schools.

You want the violence to stop? Get the criminal justice system out of the hands of New Orleans' voters.

Puddinhead

Karen, I think I might just have a little bit different take on this because for the first half of my life I lived in one of those "zones" (Upper Ninth Ward; since then it's been Gentilly)...so I never really had the privilege of living in a part of the city where the violence was "occuring somewhere else to someone else" like many in the NOLA blogosphere. My first memory of NOLA violence happened when I was a kid playing NORD basketball on St. Roch Playground--a dude pulled up in a car, got out, walked over to the other court where some older (late teens?) dudes were playing pickup, and popped one in the head. My parents' car would be stolen from in front of their house on a fairly regular basis...or at least it seemed that way. We'd usually get a call from the police to go to Desire to pick the car up. As a teen I used to watch the purse snatchers setting up in the Winn-Dixie parking lot across the street. Then one day a guy grabbed a purse and got shot at twice before he made it a half-block--once by an old lady who reached into one of those old two-wheel shopping carts and came up with a pistol. She swore to the police she though she winged him. At about 23 (I think) I found out what it felt like to have a gun barrel jammed into my skull. Kid couldn't have been older than 14. My parents finally moved out of the house I grew up in when the dude rode up on the Vespa and put a slug in the brain of a guy who'd been loitering on the corner outside their living room.

What I'm getting at is I have a little experience interacting with what some would refer to as the "criminal element", and I can tell you that the biggest problem isn't necessarily that they have no fear of prosecution--it's that (as teens) they have no fear of death. They pretty much EXPECT to do some time "inside" somewhere along the line...not that they WANT to, but most of the older thugs in the neighborhood that they associate with probably have already done time, so it's almost expected. But something else that's "expected" is that they don't expect to live past 25 or so. They look around, and they don't see too many guys who're living the lives they are who are still around past that age. Now, this is when they're 14, 15...those who are still here as they reach their mid-20's I'm sure start rethinking that whole "soldier gonna die befo' he turn 19" creed. But those teen-aged bangers running around slinging lead at each other...those guys have a different concept of what "death" is than do you and me. Life to them is short and brutal, so delayed gratification is a fool's play...get yours while you can, because you're just a disposible piece of whatever to the rest of the world.

Anyway...just my take, based on a lifetime in NOLA.

Mr. Clio

Check my blog for a link. You made it to nola.com for the march. Nice look there, but don't get too comfortable in black and red.

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