New Orleans Gives National Guard the Boot

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2009 7:07 PM CST
Louisiana National Guard Lt. Ronald Brown, Jr., right, and Sgt. Wayne Lewis pose for a photograph in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – New Orleans is sending off the last National Guard troops some 3 1/2 years after they arrived to help patrol the hurricane-ravaged city, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Police say their 1,500 officers are enough to control bad neighborhoods, but not everyone is convinced. "We don't have enough cops," one resident said. "This is still a spooky place after dark."

The National Guard presence in Louisiana has fallen from 15,000 troops to less than 100, but lawmakers facing a budget deficit have argued against keeping them. The departure is set for Sunday afternoon. "I don't think the city is ready for us to leave," one guardsman said. "I'd like to see us stay. I think we make a difference, but I guess it's a money thing." (Read more National Guard stories.)