New Orleans mayor's race: Murder down, woes remain

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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.

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