New Orleans is a major United States port as well as the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana with a population of 384 thousand people and a metropolitan population for 1.1 million (The metropolitan area being New Orleans, Metairie & Bogalusa). It was named after the Duke of Orleans who reigned as Regent for Louis XV from 1715 to 1723.
Known as "The Big Easy", New Orleans attracts heavy tourism and it is a major staple of the city's economy that is more visible than any other sector, bringing in $5.5 billion dollars annually. The hospitality industry that assists the tourism and convention so much employs upwards of 85 thousand people making it the top economic sector when measured by employment totals.
The major tourist attractions in the city are the world renowned French Quarter (including Bourbon Street's nightlife), St. Charles Avenue (home to Pontchartrain Hotel and many 19th century mansions) and Magazine Street (famous for many boutique stores and antique shops).
The French Quarter dates back to the French and Spanish eras and contains many popular hotels, bars and nightclubs. The most famous event in New Orleans, from the view of outsiders, is the Carnival, referred to as Mardi Gras, that is held in the Bourbon Street Area. This is an annual concentration of celebrations for about two weeks before and through "Fat Tuesday" (Mardi Gras in French).
In 2005, New Orleans was catastrophically affected by the failure of the Federal levee system during Hurricane Katrina. 1,500 people were recorded as having died in Louisiana during the hurricane and most of them were in New Orleans.
Tracking New Orleans DWI Arrests and Prosecutions:
The newest data on car accidents resulting in fatality shows that 40 percent of the people who died in a car accident in Louisiana were in accidents involving drunk drivers. Investigations into DWI arrests and prosecutions in Jefferson Parish have begun as a result.
Law enforcement is still cracking down on drunk drivers and other anti drunk driving groups are still looking into it and feel it remains a serious problem. In 2013 the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office made over 600 DWI arrests and in 2014 that number went up to 766, but the story gets even bigger from there.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office prosecuted over 2000 DWI cases for 12 different law enforcement agencies in 2013. The agencies they prosecute for are:
Louisiana State Police
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office
Kenner Police Department
Gretna Police Department
Harahan Police Department
Westwego Police Department
Lafitte Police Department
Grand Isle Police Department
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Crescent City Connection Police Department / Louisiana Department of Public Safety
Causeway Commission Police
East Jefferson Levee District Police
Joyce V. Bracey, executive director of the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse for Greater New Orleans spoke up on the issue as well saying:
"Drinking slows your response time behind the wheel of a car, blurs your vision, makes you sleepier, there is so much that is happening in your body that you think you have control of, but it's completely beyond your control when you've been drinking.”
Trooper Melissa Matey of State Police Troop B also spoke about her experiences with fatal accidents involving DWI's, saying:
"The worse part of our job is doing death notifications, and that's when we have to go tell parents and family members that the most important person in their life is not coming home.”
New Orleans Heroin Overdose Deaths Increase:
New Orleans has had a somewhat stable rate of heroin overdose deaths for some time, but that has changed recently. From 2008 to 2011 there was a combined total of four overdose deaths from heroin, in 2012 there were six deaths recorded, then in 2013 that number jumped to 25.
This increase is not just limited to New Orleans, throughout Louisiana, as well as the entire nation, heroin use is climbing. Over the last four years the number of addicts of heroin in the US has jumped up over 75 percent and the amount of heroin entering the US has increased almost 100 percent.
Keith Brown, an agent in the New Orleans DEA office, spoke up saying:
"We are seeing not only an increase in overdose deaths in the New Orleans metro area, we're seeing heroin use in areas across the state where we've never had it before."
The people who are using heroin today as well are not the same stereotypical "junkies" that came out starting in the 1970's. They go to work, go to school and pay their bills. They are mothers and fathers, doctors and bartenders. But sooner or later the drug takes its hold of them and they fall hard.
In addition to more heroin users in the city, the heroin that has been coming in has also been found to be a lot more potent. This new potent heroin is suspected of being imported into the US from Mexico. According to a DEA report, cocaine trafficking from Mexico has dropped across the entire nation while heroin trafficking is increasing and heroin border seizures have increased by 232 percent over a four year period.
Part of the problem, according to Dr. Dean Hickman, is that New Orleans is lacking in inpatient treatment programs, which are very necessary for treatment of heavy drugs like heroin.
New Orleans Treatment Options:
Although New Orleans is lacking in centers that provide inpatient care, that does not mean that they do not exist. Some centers provide partial inpatient care such as day treatment to get someone through withdrawal and there are still ones that provide full long term residential inpatient care.
New Orleans has only ten treatment centers, so there is also the risk of centers being booked to capacity. If this is the case, the wrong thing to do is go onto a waiting list to get treatment, instead seriously consider finding a center located elsewhere in Louisiana so that you or your loved one can get the treatment they need as soon as possible.