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?
Trump's opening offer: Making some of America 'great again?' A massive increase for the Pentagon at the expense of domestic programs. We hear about winners and losers in the President's first proposed budget.
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."