Shooting in French Quarter plays up need for extra security

Shooting in French Quarter plays up need for extra security

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans police are looking for a man who opened fire in the French Quarter early Saturday morning.

The shooting occurred, just hours after voters approved a new sales tax, which proponents hope will make things safer.

Around 3:30 a.m., a gunman emerges from a bar near Dauphine and St Louis, firing shots, after an argument. Luckily no one is hit, but it's the kind of crime Quarter residents are constantly concerned about, and another reason why they approved a new quarter cent sales tax this weekend.

We asked Toronto tourist Ann Gordon,"Would you object to paying a little more tax?" "No, not at all," she said.

For the most part, the tax, which will help generate nearly $5 million a year, will be paid for by tourists, at a cost of about a quarter, for every 100 dollars spent only in the Vieux Carre.

The tax means, that four-wheeler Polaris patrols will remain, as will a 30-member contingent of state troopers.

"The numbers speak for themselves wherever there are troopers. We've seen a reduction of crime of almost 40%," said Louisiana State Police Head, Col. Mike Edmonson.

The tax is the culmination of nearly two years of work of the French Quarter Management District.

"This is a five-year agreement, and hopefully we can rebuild the NOPD, and we won't need the tax, NOPD will be at the strength they need to be at," said Bob Simms with the Management District.

Even though the new tax means a steady contingent of troopers here at all times, the head of state police says he could still bump up their numbers as needed.'

"We guarantee up to 50 additional troopers at any given time, depending on what's going on," said Edmonson.

Even though the tax won't be collected until January, extra troopers will be in this weekend.

"Such a large number, whether, we will put additional manpower in for that," said Edmonson.

Though crime is down in the quarter, there are still big concerns, as evidenced by Saturday morning's shooting. As police look for these two persons of interest, they hope that  the extra manpower will help curtail future incidents.

State police are currently being housed in the Cabildo, with lodging paid for by the hotel industry. Colonel Edmonson says they will likely look for new headquarters now that at least 30 troopers will be on patrol in the quarter on a full time basis, through the year 2020.

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