Amid parade security shortage, Chewbacchus marred with break-ins, shooting
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A 15-year-old boy was arrested Saturday night after a shooting following a shortened route for the Krewe of Chewbacchus parade.
The route was cut in half due to a failure to get police officers to work and other security issues.
Still, the Krewe of Chewbacchus rolled through the French Quarter Saturday night in front of big crowds.
“The parade was great. They brought a lot of joy and happiness... brought a good vibe,” said Turtle Bay bartender Eric Smith.
But while parade members were marching along an abbreviated route, thieves were busy at the parade starting point.
“We saw at Chewbacchus, cars were broken into at the den while the parade was going on. The offenders know the numbers are in their favor,” said Rafael Goyeneche, with the Metropolitan Crime Commission.
After the parade, a shooting happened on Elysian Fields Avenue near the starting point at a bar whose owner says they have seen too much crime.
“When there’s 30 kids in the street breaking windows and there’s one of me... what do we do?” said the owner.
“I noticed two things; I didn’t see any police and I didn’t see anybody wearing a mask,” said Mardi Gras historian Arthur Hardy.
Many Chewbacchus crewmembers were surprised to learn that most of their police detail had not materialized.
“The main issue was they only found out 48 hours before the route was going to be short and that wasn’t fair to the krewe members, or the public, or merchants,” said Hardy.
It was also a troubling sign for people concerned about parade staffing from a department that the Police Association says is 700 officers short.
“We have people leaving to take pay cuts to work for other jurisdictions. If they’re willing to leave here to take less pay, they certainly don’t want to continue working for an organization that they don’t want to work for in the first place,” said President of the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) Michael Glasser.
This weekend’s Krewe du Vieux has already been shortened, and the mayor says it’s unclear if any other changes are coming.
The good news for people concerned about other routes being shortened is that once we get into the bulk of the carnival season, police coverage is pre-determined, albeit on shortened routes.
“The ones that are historically Mardi Gras parades are handled by our duty people and that’s not going to be an issue,” said Glasser.
Though there were security problems, parade-goers look forward to the rest of the season.
“It’ll be better than the past because everybody wants to get back out and have some fun,” said Smith, who watched the parade from Decatur Street In the French Quarter.
Glasser says security will continue to be an issue until the city commits to hiring dozens of new officers.
The New Orleans Police Department says it is actively investigating multiple vehicle burglaries reported Saturday night in the 2300 block of St Claude Avenue. They are still working to find the total number of vehicles burglarized. At one point Sunday morning, radio traffic indicated at least 23 car burglary victims were waiting for officers to take their reports.
If you have any information about this incident you are asked to call Crimestoppers, at 504-822-1111.
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