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French Quarter crime will take its toll on tourism

French Quarter crime will take its toll on tourism
French Quarter crime will take its toll on tourism
Photo by Tony Webster

In the wake of the early morning Sunday shooting on Bourbon Street which left 10 people injured, Mayor Landrieu is vowing that these crimes will 'not go unanswered' - but that just doesn't seem like enough.

Anyone, be it a resident or regular visitor to the city, will tell others - in detail - about all of the wonderful things that the city of New Orleans has to offer, and there is a profusion of such elements. The music, the food, the history and culture, the architecture, festivals in the name of pretty much anything one can think of, and so on - all of the factors that make New Orleans such a unique and enchanting place in the country, and in the world. And it is, undeniably a massive collection of remarkable ingredients, but side-stepping the crime factor in New Orleans is a dangerous elephant-in-the-room predicament.

Yes, of course, New Orleans, like any major city, has a problem with crime, however I'm sure that the tourists who have recently been raped, or were injured in the shooting on Bourbon Street (or involved in any other crimes in the very-touristy, heavy revenue generating French Quarter) would have rather there been more of a focus on prevention than an after the fact vow for redemption. Per the official statements there was a police presence near by, but many locals have been questioning the seeming lack of said presence in the French Quarter for some time now. Finding the guilty parties of any crime and bringing them to justice is, of course, necessary, but for a city that's already on shaky ground financially one would think there would be more of an effort made to protect that tourism-dollar.

And let's think about the tourists involved in this altercation for a moment - while on vacation one should be careful to not wander into areas they're not familiar with, or take care with their purses and wallets to try to avoid being robbed, and they should even try not to get conned in one of many ways in one of those very touristy areas.

But these tourists got shot early Sunday morning.

They will probably never come back to New Orleans again, and won't keep it a secret about how they had to recover from a gunshot wound they acquired while on vacation in New Orleans.

Following the shooting, some tourists expressed concern and a fear for their safety, but others seemed more indifferent stating that unfortunate events can happen anywhere - and of course that's true. At this point in time, for each one tourist who refrains from booking that weekend in the Big Easy, there will still be dozens who are either unaware of the crime concerns or who throw caution to the wind and arrive quickly donning beads and downing Hurricanes.

But food for thought - should situations like this continue to happen - if the French Quarter in New Orleans becomes a place where rapes and shootings are a more common occurrence - the tourism will drop off.

In the meantime, ProjectNOLA, the non-profit organization, developed to help keep citizens safe by providing real-time eAlerts on breaking crimes and dangerous situations in progress, has brought some footage to the attention of the New Orleans Police Department which they have used to establish a person of interest. Click here to view the video. Should you have information concerning this person or the incident on Bourbon Street, please call (504) 658-6080.