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The commeorative Louis Armstrong poster by James Michalopoulos from the 2001 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

I wonder if Louis Armstrong were alive today, would he have second thoughts about recording the song “What A Wonderful World”?

We have schoolteachers trying to teach our children how to be nice and respectful to each other. Yet we have our so-called intelligent politicians fighting every day on TV and calling each other names. Is this a good example for our future generation? What a wonderful world.

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We have oil companies pricing gas at any price they see fit. How can one station charge anywhere from five or in some cases as much as 30 cents more than another? Who came up with the idea of self-service, forcing elderly people, such as myself, age 79 and on oxygen, to pump our own gas? What a wonderful world.

What about our school system and its buildings? I thought the lottery money was going toward helping make them better. Where is all the Power Ball, Mega Ball, Lotto, scratch-off money going? Louis Armstrong was born here in New Orleans with all the crime, potholes, streets flooding because of pipes older than Julius Caesar? And abandoned houses and businesses? Would he be singing “What A Wonderful City"?

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When I was growing up, I never heard of school shootings. And I grew up in the fifties. We used to fist-fight if you had a beef with someone, and the loser bought the beer or cold drinks. Today you have teens killing each other and breaking into cars because there’s no real punishment. If a person commits an adult crime, he or she should be treated as such. If these kids want to play bad and commit big-boy crimes, they should pay the big-boy consequences. Put their names and pictures on TV and in the papers.

Somewhere along the way, we need to change some of the old rules. If anyone can get it done, it's Mayor LaToya Cantrell. She strikes me as a mayor who is going to be tough and make a lot of changes in due time. Then we can sing “What A Wonderful City.”

Jude T. Benfatti Sr.

retired longshoreman

New Orleans