Thursday, March 01, 2007

Scared in the NBA

I'm about a week late writing on this but I can't just let it go. This is getting ridiculous. If you listen to these NBA cats you might think post-Katrina New Orleans is being run by Tony Montoya, Nino Brown, Marcellous Wallace, and that Brad Pitt character from Fight Club. Now there are some legitimate concerns about New Orleans hosting NBA all-star weekend next year. But those concerns are economically, politically, and socially linked to the (in)effectiveness of the ongoing recovery effort, not the safety of NBA ballers. New Orleans has never had trouble policing people coming into the city for major events and policing the major tourist areas (CBD, French Quarter, St. Charles Ave, etc). Mardi Gras, Jazzfest, NFL playoff games, Sugar Bowl, these are huge, nationally attended events. Furthermore the Essence Festival (coming back the summer) and the Bayou Classic (back last fall) are black urban showcase events with somewhat similar clientele to that of all star weekend. And I’ve not heard one complaint from visitors feeling unsafe. Now some visitors are shocked when they see certain areas of the city that lie untouched since Katrina, but that’s another issue.

Any safety issues in the city are related to the premise that New Orleans can't seem to figure out how to deal with people already living in certain areas of the city and undertaking certain criminal behaviors. But it was like that pre-Katrina also. And every city has its marginalized areas where most crime occurs. But again I doubt you'll see too many all-star parties in Central City so visitors coming to the city should have few worries.

There are other issues in play, the demonification (I made that word up) of hip-hop culture, race issues, even NBA league issues. But to suggest that New Orleans can’t handle this event because the city is inherently unsafe is ignorant. I mean I could understand if all-star weekend was in hurricane season…….

Yes New Orleans has crime. So does LA, Vegas, NYC, Boston, Miami, etc. Grow up, come visit first before making off- the-cuff judgments and most of all leave Pacman Jones at home next year.