Gunfire injures four and leads to chaotic scenes at costume party in New Orleans’ famed Bourbon Street
Gunfire wounded four people on New Orleans’ famed Bourbon Street on Saturday night as a costumed crowd partied amid the countdown to the Mardi Gras festival, according to police and bystander accounts.
In a video taken by a witness and released by police Sunday, four shots ring out, followed by screams as some in the crowd stagger. Police said in an email that an argument involving one of the victims led to the shooting. They described the video as showing two men leaving the argument and returning with a third, then approaching the victim and shooting. No arrests were immediately reported.
The wounded were two males and two females, said a New Orleans Police spokesman, Franklin B Robertson. One male victim was in guarded condition Sunday with shots to the abdomen, thigh and pelvis, Robertson said; the second male was shot in the buttocks, one female was shot in the chin and right foot, and the second female was shot in the toe.
The shooting came on the last weekend of partying before Mardi Gras, the Fat Tuesday celebration that is the signature tourist event of the year in New Orleans. And for thousands, the partying continued despite the shooting. New Orleans has been plagued for years by violent crime, including gun violence that has soared since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.
Patrick Clay, 21, told The Times-Picayune newspaper that he was standing on the corner of busy Bourbon Street on Saturday night when suddenly he saw a crowd running and people screaming that there had been a shooting.
“Everyone immediately started running, and the cops immediately started running toward where people were running from,” Clay said. “I was with a group of about seven people and at that point, we all just kind of grasped hands and made our way through the crowd as soon as possible.”
Peter Manabani, an employee at the Rat’s Hole bar, said police had shut down a whole Bourbon Street block for an hour to investigate but allowed people to return to the area later.
Hours later on Sunday, there was little evidence that a shooting had occurred. Overnight revelers were in full party mode, packing the block amid a heavy police presence.