Hurricane Katrina hit landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2005.  It was one of the costliest and most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history, taking nearly 2,000 lives and displacing thousands of families. 

The 2000 Census shows EBR Parish’s population of 412,852, and estimates EBRP in 2006  between 429,073 and 430,051.  These estimates mean we increased less than 19,000 vox pop in EBR parish.  

Public safety is the #1 concern for residents in East Baton Rouge Parish.  Over the past 10 days we have seen the tip of the iceberg in the news by learning of the violent crime plaguing our neighborhoods in EBRP from Zachary to Burbank and from Centurian Place to Stumberg Lane.  

In 10 days, the news has revealed the rape of a juvenile, the robbery of lady checking her mailbox, an attempted robbery, 17 DWI’s, 3 drug possessions, 2 drive-by shootings, a stabbing, 3 teenagers (bystanders) shot at a party, intimidation of citizens by an assistant police chief, fire department equipment tampered with, and the robbery of bank ATM.  The newspaper and television only highlight a few criminal acts daily due to space and time. 

This morning The Advocate  indicated the new crime rankings show Louisiana as the 2nd dangerous place to live in the U.S.  (40% more dangerous.)  Some experts say ‘this can’t be true’ and if it is it must be ‘due to Katrina.’ 

When will we stop using Katrina as an excuse for the challenges set before us?  We LOST citizens in our state due to Katrina. 

EBRP had an increase of less than 19,000 displaced residents, and yet we still blame all our woes from traffic to crime on Katrina claiming we ‘doubled our traffic count’. In a parish of over 400,000, an increase of 19,000 is not ‘double’.   Traffic woes were here long before Katrina appeared on the scene.  The loop has been in discussion for 14 years, as former Congressman Richard Baker said, and still no loop!  I digress.

I call this The Katrina Controversy that seems to be the scapegoat for issues that plagued us long before the hurricane hit us in 2005. 

At least one voice in the wilderness is addressing the issue.  Governor Bobby Jindal says he is prepared to make a commitment to provide the tools law enforcement personnel need and changing laws to increase sentences for violent offenders.  One more improvement on the state level thanks to new leadership.

Now, if we can just find new leadership in the Red Stick this fall, we might be able to tackle this issue head-on.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

P.S.  Kudos to our law enforcement personnel who lay their lives on the line every day for us.