David Welker, head of the New Orleans FBI, may be low key, but if things goes as planned in a state ripe with corruption, he’ll be a household name before you know it.
By Brendan McCarthy
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — Like countless times before, the news conference began with six or so middle-age men dressed in dark, natty suits standing behind the lectern in a nondescript room, high up in a federal office building.
An aide handed out a press release, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten delved into facts of the criminal case, and down the line, the head of each law enforcement agency stepped to the microphone and lauded the efforts of his subordinates.
Except for one. The silent one was the newly appointed head of the local FBI office, perhaps the most powerful man in the room — and possibly the only one who doesn’t care whether you know it.
Meet David Welker, new face of the FBI in New Orleans.
Welker, 54, carries the lofty title of special agent in charge, but he isn’t easily recognized in a sidewalk crowd or on the society page.
A native of Shamokin, Pa., with a degree in Bible studies, Welker left the manicured streets and suburban sprawl of Tampa, Fla., last summer for a city where public corruption seems a pastime and violent crime is a brand. Expectations are high; citizens expect a steady flow of indictments.
In his few months in New Orleans, the questions have become commonplace. What’s next?
“People are waiting for that big one to fall,” Welker acknowledged.