In what the New Orleans Times-Picayune calls an unprecedented display of civic outrage over violent crime, as many as 3,000 people marched on City Hall yesterday, demanding that city leaders stem the tide of violence and calling on ordinary citizens to help make New Orleans safer. “We have come to declare that a city that could not be drowned in waters of a storm will not be drowned in the blood of its citizens,” said the Rev. John Raphael Jr. Other speakers criticized Mayor Ray Nagin, District Attorney Eddie Jordan, and Police Superintendent Warren Riley.
In size, the rally eclipsed a memorable crime protest in 1996, when about 500 people converged on then-Mayor Marc Morial and the City Council to express their outrage over a crime wave that included in the slaying of three employees in a French Quarter restaurant. That protest forced Morial and the council to increase the police budget as requested by then-Superintendent Richard Pennington as part of measures to revamp the department and curtail violence.