Published Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 | 6:52 a.m.
Updated Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 | 6:53 a.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Gunfire one boozy Mardi Gras weekend, a mass shooting at a jazz music parade and the gunshot deaths of three children in 2013 nearly overshadowed a promising statistic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu touts as he seeks re-election Saturday: the city's murder rate dropped last year by nearly 20 percent.
The 155 homicides recorded in 2013 are down from 193 the previous year and the lowest since 1985, a span in which the murder toll sometimes exceeded 400 killings a year in this tourist city on the Mississippi River.
Still, the violence stubbornly continues and crime is a major election issue as Landrieu seeks four more years. Though many voters say they still don't feel safe, local pundits say Landrieu is positioned to beat two fellow Democrats, with a runoff date of March 15 if needed.