NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A 54-year-old woman suffered a broken knee cap and torn tendon after she said someone violently threw her to the ground over the weekend in an attempt to steal her backpack.
The woman, who works as a waitress in the French Quarter, said the attack happened in the 600 block of Chartres St. near Jackson Square around 5:15 p.m. Sunday.
"I just remembering hitting my knees and my hand trying to break the fall and fell flat on my face," she said. "I'm local. I'm not a tourist. I know the kind of instinctual things you should feel and see. Usually, my guard is pretty much up, but I did not see this coming, at all."
The woman said she had just deposited her earnings at the Regions Bank at the corner of Toulouse St. and Chartres St. before someone attacked her from behind.
"My knee cap is fractured. I have a tendon underneath the knee cap that is torn in half, and I have about a 5-centimeter gash that went all the way through to the bone," she said. "I never got anyway to see what this person looked like."
She said she stayed on the ground for a couple of minutes. Even though that part of the Quarter is usually crowded on a Sunday evening, no one chased down her attacker.
The woman filed a report with the New Orleans Police Department on Monday after spending Sunday night at the St. Bernard Parish Hospital and seeing an orthopedic surgeon Monday afternoon.
The waitress told police that an NOPD officer approached her Sunday in the French Quarter after the incident and asked if she wanted an ambulance, but she refused medical treatment because her ride to the hospital was nearby.
She said the injury to her knee is so severe because she was pushed onto a drainage cover. The alleged attacker fled without taking any of the woman's personally belongings.
"Hopefully, there is a videotape that can be found, and maybe it was just a homeless person or maybe it was somebody that is out to do this continually. It was pretty brazen," she said.
FOX 8 was unable to locate any surveillance video from businesses in the area.
"Overall crime is actually down in this district, and I also want to offer kudos to police who have apprehended a number the suspects in these crimes. But there is definitely a sense among the people who live in this neighborhood that they need to be more careful because there are more brazen attacks," Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associate's Executive Director Meg Lousteau said.
Lousteau said people who live and work in the French Quarter have become uneasy about crime in the area, especially after two tourists were beaten on June 24 in the 200 block of Bienville Street just before 9 p.m.
"There's still 70-something blocks, and it's unrealistic to think that we are going to have a police officer on every block 24/7," Lousteau said. "Criminals are not all stupid. They watch when the police come by. They can count on having at least a few minutes window of opportunity here or there, and it's clear they are taking advantage of those opportunities."
"I don't want to say I'm scared, but yeah, I am," the waitress said.
She hopes her attack and the other violent incidents recently reported in the French Quarter inspires city leaders and politicians to address crime.
"I don't know what the answer is, but I think more action needs to be taken," she said. "More people need to get involved and not look the other way just because it's not a pleasant thing."
The woman said her doctor told her she would not need surgery for her injuries but would be out of work for some time.