Tuesday, June 20, 2006
National Guard Ordered to New Orleans
Louisiana Governor Orders National Guard to Patrol New Orleans After Deadly Weekend
By CAIN BURDEAU
NEW ORLEANS Jun 20, 2006 (AP)— Gov. Kathleen Blanco ordered National Guardsmen to help police patrol the city for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, following a bloody weekend that brought fears of crime disrupting the city's delicate reconstruction.
At Mayor Ray Nagin's request, Blanco ordered 100 troops and committed to send 200 more soon and 60 state police troopers to head to the city Tuesday to support the Police Department. Six people were killed over the weekend, including five teenagers in one incident.
"The situation is urgent," Blanco said. "Things like this should never happen, and I am going to do all I can to stop it."
Blanco said reinforcements would cycle in-and-out of the city. No deadline has been set for their mission, which did not require a special order because Louisiana is still under a state of emergency 10 months after Katrina hit on Aug. 29.
The troops were to patrol heavily damaged and largely unpopulated neighborhoods, freeing police to focus on hot spots. State troopers will work mostly in the French Quarter, where they often patrol during major events like Mardi Gras.
It was the first time the National Guard has been used for law enforcement in the United States since the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"I'm just delighted," said King Milling, a New Orleans banker. "The powers that be recognize that this is an issue that we must deal with."
Frustration over a rise in crime reached a tipping point on Saturday when five teenagers in an SUV were shot and killed in the city's deadliest attack in at least 11 years. Police said the attack was apparently motivated by drugs or revenge. Also, a man was stabbed to death Sunday night in an argument over beer.
The killings brought this year's murder toll to 53, raising fears that violence was back on the rise in a city that was plagued by violent crime before Katrina drove out much of the population last year.
There were 17 killings in the first three months of 2006, and 36 since the start of April.