September 29, 2005

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY has more thoughts on Louisiana:

As we’ve also noted, nine months before Katrina, three officials of Louisiana’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness were indicted for obstructing an audit of the use, or misuse, of federal funds for flood-mitigation activities.

Louisiana ranks third in the nation in the number of indicted officials per capita. Just the past generation has seen a governor, an attorney general, a federal judge, a state Senate president and a swarm of local officials convicted of assorted crimes.

Police Superintendent Eddie Compass didn’t say why he suddenly resigned. But it comes after his department announced that about 250 New Orleans police officers — 15% of the force — could face punishment for leaving their posts without permission during Katrina.

Before Katrina, New Orleans was a crime-ridden city with a murder rate 10 times the national average. Only one in four murders result in a conviction, largely because retaliation against potential witnesses is common. Yet New Orleans had only three cops per 1,000 residents, a ratio less than half that of Washington, D.C.

It’s a serious problem, and another reason why we shouldn’t just be throwing money at rebuilding efforts.