NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Former sanitation entrepreneur Sidney Torres is responsible for a commercial now being viewed on local stations. He wants his message heard, specifically, by Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
"This is something that needs to be dealt with immediately," says Torres.
He says violent crime in the French Quarter has progressively gotten worse. Last month, someone broke into Torres' home.
"I've never had an issue where somebody kicks down the door of my son's room and robs my house. It took 10 days before they could arrest the man," says Torres.
Torres was frustrated and says he wanted to speak out about the uptick of crime back then, but he decided to hold off. Then, Monday night, Torres says he received a call from his mother. She was crying and told him that that masked gunmen had just robbed Buffa's Lounge on Esplanade. Torres says at that point, he decided it was time to release the commercial.
"The mayor doesn't want to deal with certain issues with the police department in protecting the French Quarter. He wants to put it off on other groups and bring other people in. They can't get his attention," says Torres.
Torres calls the French Quarter, the city's gem, and he's calling on Landrieu to make sure it's protected. Landrieu, though, says that's exactly what he's doing.
"Rebuilding a city is not as easy as Mr. Torres seems to think it is. He made millions of millions of dollars off of garbage contracts in the French Quarter, and maybe he should take some of that money and do it himself if he thinks it's that easy. It's just not, and it requires an investment of not just individual citizens, but a collective gathering to make sure citizens are safe," says Landrieu.
Torres, though, is hoping his message to the mayor will be heard, and claims to be already gaining community support.
"At the end of the day, this is a major problem, and it's a problem that can be fixed. That's why I'm speaking out," says Torres.
Torres claims to be working on additional commercials that he says will contain testimonials from the people who live and work in the French Quarter.