|19 shot in New Orleans -- just another Mother's Day Parade in the Big Easy|
Shots fired during an informal Mother's Day afternoon parade in New Orleans injured 18 people, a police news release said Sunday.
The wounded included 10 men, six women, a boy and a girl. The children were both 10 years old.
Remi Braden, director of public affairs for the New Orleans Police Department, said there were no fatalities and "most of the wounds are not life-threatening.''
The shots were fired around 2 p.m. in the area of North Villere and Frenchmen Streets during what is locally referred to as "a second-line parade,'' Braden said.
The Times-Picayune newspaper said there were about 200 people at the event when gunfire erupted. Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas told reporters at the scene that at least 12 people were shot, the Associated Press reported. Braden said later that "we believe 17 people were wounded,'' either while participating in or observing the parade.
Braden said three or four people were in surgery, but he didn't have their conditions.
Second-line parades are loose processions in which people dance down the street, often following behind a brass band. They can be impromptu or planned and are sometimes described as moving block parties.
Shermaine Tyler, 32, who lives nearby, told The Times-Picayune that a man collapsed onto her after being shot.
"Me and mom were going to the second line. I told her I didn't want to go because there are always shots at a second line," Tyler said. "And the second I heard shots, I heard shots fired, we ran outside and one man fell in my lap who had been shot."
Braden said detectives were interviewing witnesses and seeking surveillance video in the area.
"This is an extremely unusual occurrence, and we're confident that we will make swift arrests,'' Braden said.
Officers were interspersed with the marchers, which is routine for such events. Serpas said police saw three suspects running from the scene.
A social club called The Original Big 7 organized Sunday's event. The group was founded in 1996 at a housing project, according to its MySpace page.
The neighborhood where the shooting happened was a mix of low-income and middle-class row houses, some boarded up. As of last year, the neighborhood's population was about 60% of its level before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.
"We'll get them. We have good resources in this neighborhood," Serpas said.In a city where 93 percent of those arrested for curfew violations are black, where 97 percent of known suspects in murder charges in 2009-2010 where black, and where the violence in the aftermath (and before) of Hurricane Katrina was 100 percent black, the New Orleans City Council understood such "black second-line Mother's Day parade mayhem" was a reason to keep blacks out of tourist areas [The New Orleans Curfew: Keeping Young Blacks Away From Tourists:Critical of the new rules, African-Americans organize a boycott of the French Quarter, BET, 1-10-12]
Some New Orleans residents are up in arms criticizing their city council for adopting a law they believe was passed to keep low-income Blacks out of sight of tourists.Somebody cue up the Bohemian Rhapsody:
On Thursday, the New Orleans City Council approved a strict curfew for people 16 and younger in the French Quarter. The ordinance revises a long-standing 11 P.M. curfew on Friday and Saturday nights to 8 P.M. in the area. In the rest of the city, an 11 P.M. curfew remains.
To many, it may seem like a good idea: Children are restricted from areas with strip clubs, a large nightlife zone and 350 places to buy booze. But on further inspection, to others, the ban doesn’t appear as harmless.
In numerous emotional meetings, a large number of participants, mainly African-Americans, criticized the idea, alleging that the lawmakers simply do not want Black teens to be viewed by tourists.
"There is this desire not to have these Black males in the French Quarter," Tracie L. Washington, an attorney who heads the Louisiana Justice Institute, a nonprofit civil rights group, told the Los Angeles Times.
Mama, just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead.
Mama, life had just begun,
But now I've gone and thrown it all away.
Didn't mean to make you cry,
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.