NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A brutal stabbing in the French Quarter and other recent crimes have sparked a new sign campaign warning visitors to walk in groups.
For the first time, the victim of that stabbing talked about an ordeal that he says he's lucky to have survived.
"I lived here for 20 years," he said. "It seemed bad in the mid-90s, and it seems just as bad again."
Pictures show in graphic detail exactly what happened the night of Dec. 17.
"He approached me quickly," he said. "They knew exactly what they were doing."
The victim, who lives in New Orleans, doesn't want to be identified since the suspect hasn't been arrested. He was walking with a friend when they were attacked by as many as eight people, some armed with knives, others with guns.
"They waited until they were even with us, acted quickly, I didn't know I had been stabbed until I saw the knife," the victim said.
He spent two nights in the hospital.
"They knicked my lung. There was a small collapse," he said.
Residents nearby were stunned.
"At first I heard the screams, 'I've been stabbed, I've been stabbed' - it was unbelievable," said a Gov. Nicholls Street resident, who asked not to be identified.
She began a sign campaign just in time for Sugar Bowl warning people to walk in groups. Dozens can be seen around the Quarter from Chartres and Gov. Nicholls to Ursulines and Rampart.
"It's just got everyone upset. You can't walk at night," she said.
Residents, especially those who recently moved to the Quarter, say they want the violence to stop.
"We're hoping for more police presence here," she said.
Some of the visitors we spoke with said they're disheartened to see these signs, but they said they're not surprised. Visitors from Germany say they already walk in groups after hearing about New Orleans violence back home.
"We've seen it in the news before," said German tourist Tina Zepp.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the city needs about 500 new officers.
"We've all been clear that we think we need 1600 officers, and to do that you have to manage your resources," he said.
Police leaders say they are doing just that after recently adding 13 new officers through task forces and re-assignments.
"Two of those officers in juvenile court, are now in the French Quarter," said NOPD Chief Michael Harrison.
The stabbing victim said despite wounds to his chest, abdomen and hand, he's staying, but he's hoping for change. He said the suspects stole nothing, and he thinks he was targeted because the assailants thought he had witnessed a robbery just minutes before, which he says was not the case.
"The NOPD is great, and we need more of them on the street in the lower French Quarter."
In addition to 13 officers being added to the quarter, Harrison said the department is assigning dozens of reserve officers as well.
Detectives do have a suspect in the stabbing attack. They credit CrimeStopper tips for helping to identify 23-year-old Leo Dorsey. If you can help find him, call (504) 822-1111.