New Orleans mayor doesn’t ‘embrace’ city’s title as ‘murder capital’ of U.S.

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 4:02 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Despite leading the nation in homicides per capita, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says the national designation of “murder capital” doesn’t sit right with her.

“I don’t embrace it at all,” she said after a press conference on Tuesday (Sept. 27). “The data that is used is on government terms for that and not based on what is actually happening.”

The mayor says the city can still safely host big events and most murders are among people who know each other.

Dillard public policy professor Robert Collins says the numbers don’t lie. In September, the city’s 52 homicides per 100,000 people outpaced St. Louis, which had led the nation with a rate of 45 homicides per 100,000 people. By comparison, there have been 18 homicides in Chicago per 100,000 people and 3.5 per 100,000 in New York City.

“The designation murder capital of the U.S. is not subjective, it’s objective and is based on the total number of murders per 100,000 members of the population,” he says.

Kelly Schulz of New Orleans & Co. says the national headlines make it harder to sell the city.

“We are getting questions from our customers about what it means for them,” she says. “And it’s not just the headline we are concerned about ... it’s the reality of the situation.”

Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO Inc., called the homicide rate disturbing.

“I don’t think we could ever forget that, on a moral level, it’s unacceptable for us to have any homicide, let alone this level of homicide,” Hecht said.


Data analysts have been predicting New Orleans to become the deadliest city in the country since early July.

“It’s no wonder that we are the homicide capital of the United States when you’re seeing a 46 percent surge in homicides,” said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission. “Citizens are driving to suburban parishes to gas up, get their groceries and eat out.”

The jump in the city’s homicide rate comes after a 50-year low in 2019 when New Orleans had just 121 homicides.

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