Three and a half years after Hurricane Katrina, the National Guard is pulling the last of its troops out of New Orleans this weekend, leaving behind a city still desperate and dangerous.
Residents long distrustful of the city’s police force are worried they will have to fend for themselves.
“I don’t know if crime will go up after these guys leave. But I know a lot more of us will be packing our own pieces now to make sure we’re protected,” said Calvin Stewart, owner of a restaurant and store.
I don't blame him; if I lived there I'd have had a gun in my pocket, and something more substantial within reach at all times.
New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said his rebuilt police department is up to the job of protecting the city. "I think we're ready to handle things," he said.
Show of hands: considering his past record, how many people trust what Riley says? That's what I thought.
"We don't have enough cops. It's not that they're bad, it's just that there's not enough of them. These guys are Johnny-on-the-spot when you need them," said 57-year-old Tom Hightower, who is still trying to get the mold out of his house. He added: "This is still a spooky place after dark."
Which brings us back to 'something substantial within reach'.
My daughter's planning a trip to NO later this year. She has a friend down there who's been briefing the "This area is pretty safe, and don't you DARE go beyond this street or into this area" situation. No, I'm not overly fond of her going down there, but she's smart enough to pay attention to the warnings and to what's going on around her. Don't you just love it that this place, here in the US, after a natural disaster had to beg for NG troops because the city authorities couldn't take care of the place? A city that still hasn't returned a lot of stolen guns(stolen by the city, let us not forget) to their owners because, after said natural disaster, the owners can't produce paperwork the city demands? Just bloody wonderful, isn't it?