NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With fewer COVID restrictions, Bourbon Street is almost back to looking like its old self again, both for business and misbehavior.
“The last few weeks have been increasing each weekend,” said manager, Marisa Wolftale of the St. Louis Market.
“It’s sad when you hear about shootings, especially night after night in New Orleans,” said French Quarter resident, Ken Caron.
Just before 10 p.m. Saturday night, gunfire erupted on Bourbon street, leaving two teens, 14- and 15-year-old boys with gunshot wounds.
“I just heard at least five gunshots go off, then literally 1000 people or more started running down the street and screaming,” said one witness.
The NOPD says 27-year-old Jasmine Evans from Jacksonville, Florida faces battery charges in the incident, but the shooting leaves residents and law enforcement experts wondering why the teens were there in the first place.
“I have not seen curfew enforcement in a long time in the French Quarter. I think it’s something we need,” said Caron.
“It’s preventable. We need to continue to stay focused on protecting children. One of the keys ways to protect children is curfew enforcement and truancy enforcement,” said Ronal Serpas.
A city ordinance keeps juveniles 17 and younger from being in the French Quarter unsupervised starting at 8 p.m. unless they have a valid reason.
Former NOPD superintendent Ronal Serpas says this is not only supported by a supreme court ruling, but it’s also intended to keep them and others safe.
“When they see children that look like they could be of curfew violation age, they should stop and ask them, and we as a people should support that,” said Serpas.
The city’s curfew center has been closed due to COVID, leaving officers to either bring juveniles home if they find them out after hours or stay with them until guardians arrive.
“How in the heck can you ask police officers to enforce that very violation? It’s really kind of nonsensical that it is the city’s responsibility. It’s not the police department’s responsibility. It’s not the fire department’s responsibility,” said Serpas.
Serpas says it’s now up to city leaders to help keep both the public and young people safe.
“So we should be asking our city council, and we should be asking the mayor. If you want to enforce curfew because it saves and helps children from being injured, what are we doing to support the police as they follow your instructions to enforce the curfew? It’s very simple,” said Serpas.
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