By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Life under military protection in New Orleans isn't all that bad, as an Uptown gathering of teenagers on Thanksgiving break found out a couple of Fridays ago. Parents had sanctioned the party, at a house on Audubon Park, but the neighbors called to complain anyway, and camo-clad members of the Louisiana National Guard showed up well before midnight, rifles slung over shoulders, to break down the festivities.
"They looked about 20 years old," said one partygoer, 18. "They said, 'We're sorry to break this up--we're party people!'"
There's no word on how long the military will be sharing peacekeeping duties here. They have given out business cards to Uptown residents saying they will be answering if you call 911.
The New Orleans Police Department is down to 1,448 officers from a pre-Katrina count of 1,700, but the city's current population is almost certainly a fraction of what it was.
Taking police calls in a residential neighborhood sure beats active duty in Iraq, where over 3,700 Louisiana Guard troops have been stationed.