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Death by the Numbers 

Politicos always cock an ear to crime rates. And homicide totals are the most chilling -- and generally accurate -- indicators of the quality of life in a big city. So by this measure are New Orleanians any better off than they were last year? Coroner's Chief Investigator John Gagliano says through noon Aug. 20, there were 149 homicides in Orleans Parish. That's the exact same number we had at this time last year," Gagliano says.

"One homicide in our city is too many," Mayor Marc Morial said at a recent press conference he called with Police Chief Richard Pennington to launch a crime initiative.

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