Nearly 10 months after Hurricane Katrina, National Guard troops may soon be back on the streets of New Orleans.
This time the problem is man-made — crime is returning, some say with a vengeance. And after a particularly bloody weekend, the mayor is calling for military backup.
Even in a city with a notoriously violent past, it was a shock.
Early Saturday, five teens were murdered in a storm of automatic weapons-fire on a city street just blocks from the central business district.
Among the dead, Monalisa Hunter's two sons.
“Y'all took my kids for no reason. I don't care what they are saying — drugs, retaliation — they didn't deserve this,” Hunter says.
On Monday, an angry mayor asked for and got several hundred National Guard soldiers and additional state police officers to try to stem the rising tide of violence.
"This is our line in the sand,” said Mayor Ray Nagin. “We are saying we're not going any further.”
Saturday's killings plus another one Sunday night have renewed fears that New Orleans’ murderous past is making a comeback.
“It should have changed after Hurricane Katrina,” says resident Mable Cobbins. “It should have changed.”
When residents fled the city after Katrina, much of the crime went with them.
There were 17 murders the first three months of this year, but since April there have been 36.
The city council is considering approving more funding to pay for additional police overtime. Members also want a crime summit within two weeks.
“If we don’t have wind knocking us down, we have people, murderers shooting us down, and that is unacceptable,” says Council President Oliver Thomas.
In a city still pleading for residents to come home, the sell gets tougher when crime seems to be returning faster than people.