Criminal Justice

Live blog Friday: Symposium on violent crime in New Orleans

The Lens live-blogged a criminal-justice symposium, “Preventing Lethal Violence in New Orleans,” at Loyola University on Friday.

The event aimed to highlight “effective community-based solutions” to the city’s struggle with violent crime.

New Orleans could use some effective, community-based solutions, considering that six people were shot on Tuesday alone, one fatally.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas spoke at 9 a.m.

The afternoon session kicked off at 1:45 p.m. with a speech by renowned criminologist David Kennedy from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Kennedy is the architect of the Ceasefire crime-fighting initiative that calls on cities to target the small number of hard-core criminals who commit most violent felonies.

At 10:45 a.m. New Orleans Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo spoke about NOLA for Life, the city’s “public health approach to murder reduction.”

In other forums, DeSalvo has spoken about mentally ill people who have fallen through the cracks, only to commit heinous crimes. Last week, the city dealt with yet another heartbreaking homicide with the double homicide of two toddlers at the hands of their mentally-ill mother.

A candlelight vigil for the toddlers was held Thursday night on the 3300 block of Audubon Court in Gert Town, where the alleged crime occurred.

Other speakers at the Loyola event included Harvard professor Robert Sampson, who described successful efforts to reduce violence in Chicago, a couple of Loyola sociology professors, and California-based sociologist and professor Nikki Jones, whose talk was called “The Hustle: Why It’s Hard to Make Good in Today’s Inner City.”

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About Tom Gogola

Tom Gogola covered criminal justice for The Lens from February 2012 to May 2013. He is a veteran journalist and editor who has written on a range of subjects for many publications, including Newsday, New York, The Nation, and Maxim. Gogola was a 2011 winner of the Hillman Foundation Sidney Award, for his groundbreaking report in New York magazine detailing regulatory waste in the commercial fishing industry.

  • Dave Holt

    Will the Symposium from today on crime be available to view at a later date?

  • Thanks for live blogging this Tom. Good to see you.

  • Janiebt

    I would have preferred a comprehensive article instead of just reading what was tweeted. Although attendance was sparse, I felt there was a lot of useful information presented at the symposium. Serious issues as crime is in NOLA and the incarceration rate in Louisiana, deserve better coverage. After all, it is about improving our community. Just want to add, this is the first time I have ever been disappointed in an article from The Lens.

  • Steve Myers

    We’re experimenting with using live blogs to cover events like this that would traditionally be handled with a wrap-up story, like the one that the Times-Picayune did:

    Both stories are pretty straightforward, recounting what happened at an event. Ours was done live, enabling people to follow along as it happened; the other was crafted into a traditional news story. In some cases we may update the live blog after the event to highlight some of the major points.

    The advantage of a live blog over tweeting is that each post doesn’t have to stand alone (oftentimes tweets from a live event are hard to understand because they no context). The blog also gives this information a permanent place on the site. Tom tweeted each of these entries, though I think we may want to pull back on that — tweeting major points and using the live blog for the blow-by-blow.

    We’re still figuring out when and how to use live blogs, but I think this was a good event to cover and an effective execution. Feel free to comment here about this approach or email me at smyers at

  • bro keith X

    Once again “the Lens” is full of sh–! I was at that B.S. at Loyola, and I didn’t hear anything CONCRETE to curb violence. I heard a lot of white-folks talking about what worked in other states! This is the “new” New Orleans, where white-folks REFUSE to listen at the citizens who live in this sh–, and got a first-hand knowledge of what needs to be done, but being the slave-city it is, city officials still have that ‘slave-master’ mentality, and the Lens, which is funded by the city, is continuing the selective journalism of the Times Picayune/La. Weekly, et al. So, the B.S. has played out!

  • Steve Myers

    Bro Keith X,

    You’re incorrect; The Lens receives no city funding.

    Thank you,
    Steve Myers