NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Some held signs and watched silently. Others spoke out, calling for peace. Together, about a hundred people, many of them people who live in the quarter, joined forces Tuesday night in Jackson Square to say they're fed up with crime.
Holding a photo of a man badly beaten, Jarred Zeringue says, "This is our guest from California, this is what crime looks like."
Some of the people gathered in Jackson Square are friends of victims. Others experienced the pain themselves.
One woman tells FOX 8, "I was walking at 4:00 in the afternoon Saturday, I got attacked and beaten."
The woman says three teens tried to take her purse. When they couldn't get it off her shoulder, they shoved her to the ground. With her face badly bruised and swollen, the woman joined fellow crime victims and French Quarter residents, to say enough is enough. "I live here in the quarter and I'm not going to let them scare me off, not going to let them," the woman said.
Another resident yelled out, "If we stand by and become victims we'll continue to be victims."
The signs the group hold say it all. Some take a satirical shot at the level of violence, others are straight to the point. "When there's a Sugar Bowl game it's policed properly. They make sure that every street and every exit is covered but for the rest of the year, we're fair game for criminals," said one man.
One of the chief concerns of this group is that Mayor Landrieu isn't doing enough to address the crime problem. They say it's not only affecting their quality of life here, it's also affecting tourism.
"We deal with people from all parts of the world and now we're getting phone calls from people, is it safe? Should I wear my bullet proof vest?" said Sidney Smith, owner of Haunted History Tours.
NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison admits residents have a right to be mad. "We share in those concerns. We will do everything that we can to assure that those neighborhoods are safe," Harrison said.
That includes putting reserve officers on the streets and asking plain clothed detectives to don uniforms to increase visibility. But this group says those measures aren't enough to stop the rampant violence that's harming not only the reputation of the city, but the lives of innocent victims as well.
This is the first of many rallies the group plans to hold and they're not just focusing on crime in the French Quarter. They know it's a citywide issue, which affects every neighborhood in New Orleans.