A contingent of 300 National Guard troops and 60 state troopers will continue patrolling the streets of New Orleans past their announced September withdrawal date, says Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The New Orleans Times-Picayune says Blanco was shocked to learn of five more killings Friday night, including four in one incident. “I think we will extend” the time the security forces will remain in New Orleans, the governor said, adding: “We are trying to figure out the money now.” She added: “We are not ready to walk away yet.” The troopers and National Guard personnel arrived after the killings of five youths five weeks ago.
City officials have said they would like the added security forces to remain in New Orleans through the end of the year. Blanco would not say how long the extension will be. Pending a review of the costs, “I can’t say now for how long,” Blanco said. In the meantime, she said, she is “hoping the New Orleans Police Deparment will buck up their numbers” by hiring and training more officers.