Try not to get murdered at ALA.

Just in time for ALA the governor of Louisiana has deployed armed National Guard troops to keep order in the troubled streets of New Orleans. It seems Ray 'Chocolate' Nagin can't convince his police to do their jobs. Perhaps they are all out at the Caddy dealers checking out the Escalades and waiting for the next hurricane.

New Orleans can expect 300 armed National Guard troops and an additional 60 state police officers to patrol the gunfire plagued streets that have seen scores of shooting and at least a half dozen murders in the last 3 days. On the bright side there have only been 54 murders in New Orleans so far this year, compared to 81 in the same period last year. The fact that hundreds of thousands of people have moved away after Katrina seems to have cut down on crime.

The National Guard troops feel that they are still in the disaster phase, and I am sorry to tell them that anytime they must march into New Orleans it will be a disaster.

Amazingly people set to attend the ALA convention called the hotel but did not cancel. I wonder who will end up dead?

I've made my decision and it cost me $75 dollars in cancellation penalties. I will not be going to see Mrs. Bush in New Orleans; I don't have my own security detail. Enjoy the ABC News story here. Me, I'll be in Manhattan that week.

Of course the ALA is right on top of things (actually I'm impressed but then again that is how they make the big bucks through the BS feel good meetings). They have a < a href=""> statement from the N.O. Convention and Visitors' Bureau on the front page. Unfortunately they omitted the part about "Run like hell for cover when the shooting starts."

I'm armed, I was a cop and I'm not going there. There is no emergency like Katrina where people need help it is just the usual lawlessness that has been created by decades of Democratic administration of New Orleans.

Take my advice, stay out of New Orleans, someone associated with ALA will be attacked. I don't hope this happens, but I am a pragmatist.

Stay home and phone this one in.


I went to Toronto in spite of SARS and I will go to ALA in New Orleans in spite of the arrival of the National Guard. I will leave the Conference earlier than I usually do, however, because I don't wish to be backdrop to Mrs. Bush. The Bush administration's lies are more dangerous than anything else I can imagine.

OK, since LISNews is a major news source for me, I had no idea I was walking into certain danger. No, come on, that was the nine years living in the Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City, NJ, best known as the setting of Clockers.

Call me crazy, but I wasn't that scared then, or living on Morningside Heights in the 70s, before Columbia's big gentrification. After Jersey City, Philly was completely unable to impress me--and I was at branches in neighborhoods most Brotherly-Lovers loathe.

I go into places assuming my plain old public service librarian nature will protect me. I am respectful of people's space and feelings, I do want to get along, I have an open face and an open mind, and I am mindful of what's going on in the library or on the street all the time. I am not claiming sainthood or perfection or anything. This is just part of the job.

I am GLAD I didn't read this before going out to dinner with Mock Turtle at Olivier's. We had a great time, and wandered back to respective hotels at 10:30. We did note an intense police presence. Ran into Rochelle on Royal St. on the way home. (I am just thrilled to be seeing my friends from the biblioblogosphere!)

Point of fact, the large number of cops around, and they way they were interacting with some of the people on the street did make me nervous. Too many nervous cops has been a recipe for disaster before now. I truly hope that nothing bad happens to anyone. I don't think it is inevitable--most people I have encountered were very happy to see us.

Good. If you are careful, stay out of crackville, and don't wander the streets alone at 4AM even I concede you will probably be fine. Heck the same can be said of Baghdad. But I do think Walt is right -especially after he noted the Central District and Central Business District are two different neighborhoods. Be safe.

These numbers really do not scare me. I work in Cleveland and there were 79 homicides in 2004 and 109 in 2005. Here are some numbers from other cities in 2005, such as Philly with 377 or Houston with 334.

I am still relatively young and foolhardy, and have been to a few conventions and travelled on my own around the US, Canada, and Europe, but something is really making me nervous about ALA in NOLA. I don't think anyone will be murdered (I hope and pray) but I do think there will be a lot of problems that aren't being well-addressed. A lot of rumors are coming out--stores and restaurants with no phones/no ability to take credit cards, places only being open M-F, a lack of taxis and doctors. I hope I come home next week thinking I was dumb to worry.

Funny but I get that a lot.

Yeah I get ya. And frankly I'd feel safer going if Nagin wasn't mayor.

I heard, then I saw... then I freaked out.

Geez, MDoneil, may I assume you never, ever visit Baltimore or Philly or DC, cities with considerably higher murder rates than New Orleans even before Katrina?

Nobody in their right mind would be in Central City--NOT "Central Business DIstrict," the New York Times just plain got that one wrong--by themselves at 4 a.m. unless they were, ahem, looking for drugs or illicit companionship. A statement that could be made about many neighborhoods of any city, and without the "4 a.m." qualifier.

(Actually, I can't imagine why any convention-goer would be in Central City anyway: It's on the wrong side of the freeway, it's in the "other direction" from the Garden/Arts District, French Quarter, and other interesting parts of the city, and..well, it's in a Bad Part of Town. Something certainly not unique to New Orleans.)

Your decision to abandon ALA is your decision. This bit of scaremongering is beneath you.

Hey, Greg! You've been cited as a source by none other than Michelle Malkin!! Your fame spreads!!!

Hey, I've met plenty of scary librarians, many on this site, in fact.

I went to Hong Kong & Singapore during SARS because the prices were so low as people were afraid to travel there.

I didn't think you would be going to see Mrs. Bush. I wonder if she will go to see the Women in Libraries or anything else.

Do be careful though.

What I can't blow crap out of proportion on the Internets. Still, everyone should be careful. Walk in groups of librarians, we know how scary they can be:)

Was, not are. Please read more carefully. No guns in Manhattan... hmmm I wonder which is safer NYC or NO.

Ignoring the previous two boneheads, I would still say New Orleans isn't any less safe then it was prior to Katrina. But the flipside is that its a tourist town, it wouldn't be anything without it. So whatever is happening on the outskirts I still think areas like the French Quarter will be fine.

Wish you were going but its your call. You welcome to bunk with me if you change your mind.

Yes, you've told us repeatedly. You're a cop. You have a large personal arsenal. Your's is bigger than our's. Enjoy Manhattan. The citizens will feel safer knowing you're there.

I have had my head under the huge pile of paper on my desk all week. So I haven't heard or seen anything about bad things happening to librarians in NOLA. Did anything happen?

The worst problem I encountered was finding a restaurant with less the a 45 minute wait for dinner. Even in the five days I was there, I was impressed by how much improvement went on. My hotel's pool opened for the first time; it seemed like another restaurant opened every time we walked down the street. NOLA needs more people at this point. Understaffing was a problem everywhere, but the people who were working were incredibly helpful and pleasant. So I overtipped hugely wherever I went, setting a new standard for ALA attendees.

If anyone you know is looking for a job and can swing housing, NOLA is the place to be. $500 signing bonus to work at RadioShack. Construction I think names its own price. And yes, New Orleans Public is hiring.