NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Early Sunday morning (March 10), police say two men walking in the 400 block of Bourbon Street heard a pop. Moments later, one man felt pain in his calf and the other man felt pain in his foot. Both had been shot.
“This is kind of a strange situation because apparently they don’t know where the shots came from. We are going to have to get these guns off Bourbon Street, that’s all there is to it,” said Earl Bernhardt.
Bourbon Street business owner Earl Bernhardt is concerned about the violence and crime. The shooting over the weekend happened in the same block where police investigated a shooting a couple of weeks ago that took the life of 36-year-old Julie Couvillion. Bernhardt believes more should be done to make Bourbon Street a gun-free zone.
“I’d love to see every police officer with a wand and check everybody. That means, black, white, old and young. That way they couldn’t claim racial profiling,” Bernhardt said.
Councilwoman Helena Moreno said there is a heightened sense of urgency to keep weapons off Bourbon Street, but she said it’s unclear how to do it.
Meanwhile, the NOPD said its efforts to remove illegal guns from the streets is working.
“The police department in the French Quarter, on the parade route, and all across the city has taken this really seriously. I think the statistics show how much it’s improving with shootings down 21 percent so far this year,” said NOPD Deputy Chief Paul Noel.
During the Carnival season, the NOPD seized 84 illegal guns from the French Quarter and along the parade routes, compared to 53 during the Carnival season last year.
“I think what’s significant with that is last year, we made a lot more arrests than we did this year, so I think what you can see is that we targeted the right people,” Noel said.
Tourists Carol and Lauren McDonald said they love New Orleans, but they’re aware of what’s happened on Bourbon Street and they’re concerned.
“If it gets to the point where people are scared to come, then what happens is businesses suffer, and I hate to see that because we really do love NOLA,” Carol McDonald said.