Residents wary of curious carolers singing for donations in Lakeview

Residents wary of curious carolers singing for donations in Lakeview

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Armed with a guitar and what might be some holiday cheer, carolers have startled neighbors in Lakeview to the point where some refuse to open their door while others have called police.

"You know at first I thought she was kind of casing the place. She took a look around inside and then she just started singing. That's what really caught me off guard," Bijan Hatamian said.

Residents have posted to the nextdoor app about the carolers who have mostly been described as a woman and man singing together. Hatamian said he was treated to a solo performance of "Feliz Navidad" when the woman came to his door recently around 7:30 p.m.

"She said she was with a group of people and that they were just across the street. As I poked my head out, I didn't see anyone," Hatamian said. "Usually with these churches, they'll come and give you pamphlets and explain a little about themselves, but she really didn't. Thirty seconds into it, she was already singing and expecting those donations."

"It's sad that you have to feel that way, but our family personally has been through some tragedies recently so I don't trust too many people," Lakeview resident Kathleen Kluttz said.

The carolers rang Kluttz' doorbell around 8:30 p.m.

"We just didn't answer the door," she said. "It was so late at night and they are just traveling in a couple. You don't see a car when they leave or anything like that, and they ask for money - a donation. Carolers don't usually do that."

Residents said the carolers ask for donations to help support a Philippine relief effort. The South Asian island is currently dealing with a war on drugs where the country's police have killed nearly 6,000 suspected drug dealers and users and put more than 40,000 people in jail since June.

Even people who helped out the carolers' cause called their tactics questionable.

"I was a little suspicious," Erin Engelhardt said. "It was dark, but she felt passionate about her cause. I thought her songs were really sweet. She played the guitar so we sat around the door as a family and listened."

The songstress serenaded the Engelhardt family with two songs. Engelhardt gladly donated and said the woman went on her way after the performance.

"I was happy to support the cause that she was raising for," Engelhardt said. "I think it's important that we open our doors to our neighbors sometimes when it feels right."

The New Orleans Police Department could not confirm if officers responded to any calls about carolers.

FOX 8 reached out to several groups to see if the carolers are a part of their organizations but have not gotten a response from any at this time.

If you know who the carolers are, email FOX 8 here.

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