FROM Peter Scharf
Mardi Gras Revelers Flood Big Easy, Residents Ponder Jump Ship Mardi Gras has been described as the tale of two cities: New Orleans before and after Katrina. Last year's Mardi Gras was the first after Katrina, and it was mostly a local affair. This year's will be a better measure of what's in store for New Orleans. Today is Fat Tuesday, and hotel occupancy is up, but so is the number of cops on the streets because of an increase in violent crime. Many residents who've qualified for government grants still aren't sure if they ought to rebuild or take buy-outs. With the city just half as large as it used to be, we hear about prospects for public safety, race relations and reconstruction.
Is New Orleans Safe for Anyone? Immediately after Katrina, violent crime all but disappeared from New Orleans as the city lost about half of its pre-hurricane population. But the police chief says that 80% of its criminals have come home, and a headline in last week's Times-Picayune read " Killings bring the city to its bloodied knees ." Recent murder victims include Dinerral Shavers, a 25-year old high school teacher and drummer for the Hot 8 Brass Band , gunned down in broad daylight driving his car with his family. Another was Helen Hill , a filmmaker and wife of a doctor, shot to death when she answered a morning knock on her door in a Bohemian neighborhood near the French Quarter. In the aftermath of such high-profile murders, citizens are ready to march on City Hall. We visit a devastated city that's under siege. Will New Orleans be safe for Mardi Gras less than six weeks from today?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.