So many times in a big package you want to tell the story in as many ways as possible, but we broke it up even further. There were so many cliffhangers along the natural story lines that it was easy. Writing it was just scene-to-scene-scene.

Crime is still a big problem in New Orleans. Why did you decide to do a narrative instead of a big-picture feature?

We do those stories, and people read it, but you need to show them all the nuances behind the murder story and all the issues. That gets them involved and makes it hit home so much more.

We’ve written stories on how people have reluctance in cooperating with police and here we show the exact words people say to the police and how the police coax them to cooperate.

The ultimate hope is that people will read it from beginning to end and it’ll inform them a little bit about crime in the city.

How much time did you get to dedicate to this piece?

My editor freed me up for a little over a week.


Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.