Beating and robbery rattles nerves in the French Quarter

Beating and robbery rattles nerves in the French Quarter

A beating and robbery caught on tape Sunday morning rattled nerves throughout the French Quarter.

"Crime around here needs to stop. It's getting so ridiculous," said Kat Naquin.

Around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, police say the 28-year-old victim was walking in the 800 block of St. Louis Street when he was approached by four or five men. They pushed him to the ground and kicked him in the stomach, then held the victim at gunpoint while they stole his wallet, cell phone and expensive watch.

"I think the two girls standing there almost looked like they were friends with the guys," said Naquin.

Police are now looking for the two women as persons of interest. They're also hoping the public will help them find the men. Naquin is bothered that several other people witnessed the incident and never tried to help.

"A car and a cab are going by and they did nothing. Why didn't anyone call 911?" she asked.

If the City Council passes a proposed ordinance, there soon could be more eyes on the street to call police when something happens. The mayor wants to create NOLA Patrols, a 50-person unarmed civilian group that would take some of the pressure off of the officers who are assigned to the Quarter.

"The visibility effect is what it is. We still want to be able to hire more police officers, have high visibility and deal with the crime on Bourbon Street and elsewhere in the Quarter and the downtown area, so this frees us up to do that," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison.

The program would be funded with a tax that hotels in the area voluntarily assess on their guests. Council members, however, expressed concern about why only one side of Canal Street would be included in the NOLA Patrols, so they deferred the issue. They're expected to discuss it again at the November meeting.

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