News of a shooting in New Orleans has become a way of life for the people that live there in recent years. In 2015, the city ended the year with a whopping 164 murders. The number doesn’t seem to be dropping this year.
Sunday morning was certainly one of the higher profile incidents. It was reported that 10 were shot and one killed on Bourbon Street while the Bayou Classic was going on. The annual event is a widely-known tourist attraction for New Orleans where Grambling and Southern universities (two of the biggest historically black colleges) play each other.
We’re already getting reports that police have arrested around 11 people in the past 48 hours for illegally carrying weapons in the area, but so far the perps haven’t been identified.
Some are now using the shooting to put emphasis on a possible solution, including New Orleans businessman Sydney Torres:
“For special events and times, we need to treat Bourbon Street like the Superdome with 70,000 people in it,” Torres said. “People know that when they go to the Dome, they will be safe because everyone is scanned by a wand for guns. Lives are being lost, and one of our most critically important cultural gems is being threatened.”
Torres, the creator of the French Quarter Task Force patrol, called for restricted access to Bourbon Street between Canal and St. Ann Streets between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. during special events in the French Quarter. He suggested the City put up security check points with metal detectors and cameras at every entrance to Bourbon Street along the main eight-block stretch.
Torres cited Beale Street in Memphis as an example of an entertainment district that has effectively put up detectors to stop the influx of firearms. But Beale Street was already known as one of the safest entertainment districts in the country before the metal detectors went up, and the machines were put there largely in protest to a law allowing patrons to enter bars with guns.
Beale Street also requires a $10 fee to even enter the area at night. In other words, it’s the exact opposite of everything Bourbon Street is famous for.
So the city is now put in the precarious position of wanting to keep up the reputation of wild fun that Bourbon is famous for while at the same time not having mass murders. That’s a problem for New Orleans as a whole as crime because more and more outrageous to the chagrin of city residents. This is now the third year in a row where a shooting has taken place on Bourbon. Strangely enough, 10 people were also short during an altercation in 2014.
Adding more police to the area is an easy way to try to curtail the crime uptick, but placing metal detectors would be difficult for Bourbon just because of the huge amount of traffic and the many entrances to get there.