Bourbon Street Needs Fixing

Groups including the Bourbon Street Business League, which represents Bourbon Street businesses, the French Quarter Advocates (containing primarily residents) and others are weighing in on a city plan to make Bourbon Street “safer.”The shooting on Bourbon in November on Bayou Classic weekend that killed one person and injured nine others was, frankly, just unacceptable.

We cannot hope to maintain the reputation of New Orleans as a safe place for tourists if visitors fear that they’ll be caught in gunfire while they’re enjoying themselves on Bourbon.

I might go as far to say that shootings are not impossible at any other time in any other neighborhood either. But we have to face the fact that New Orleans’ economic bread and butter is the visitor/hospitality industry, and the center of the attraction is our French Quarter and Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street needs fixing.

The city’s plan calls for $30-million to install cameras at the entrances to the Quarter, improved lighting, street and sidewalk repairs, sanitation and infrastructure improvements, an increased police presence and putting impediments into the street to prevent the possibility of attacks from cars or trucks rampaging through crowds.

There have also been suggestions that police be armed with metal detectors to screen “suspicious” persons on the street (the ACLU is going to have a field day with that one; but can you imagine that if the city could enforce this what fantastic publicity we’d get worldwide?).

No one knows where the $30-million is going to come from to pay for this.

As usual, everyone is making suggestions in making Bourbon Street safer. They’re all scratching their heads to come up with ideas on lighting, more cops, etc. But isn’t the main issue here the prevention of gun violence on Bourbon?

Isn’t the solution obvious? Keep guns out of the French Quarter. Simple: you cannot carry a gun or firearm in the French Quarter. Everyone tippytoes around the obvious fix for this problem, and I just don’t know why. I’ve opined before: letting drunk, high and possibly angry people (alcohol and drugs can make you violent, folks) have guns or other concealed weapons in a crowd of people is a disaster waiting to happen. There’s just no other solution. We can increase the lighting, clean up the street, keep terrorists from running cars and trucks amok on Bourbon, but the fact remains: where there are guns and drunks, the potential for gun violence skyrockets.

Naysayers claim that if guns are taken out of the Quarter that the criminals will have a field day. If everyone is prevented from entering the Quarter with a gun, then how will a criminal be any different from a business owner or an innocent bystander? I think there’s something to be said for metal detectors. The Quarter should be a gun-free zone. No guns, period.

I have agreed not to carry a potential weapon on-board public transportation to protect the safety of the other passengers. I have agreed not to carry a weapon in an amusement park. I’ve agreed to pass several tests in order to allow me to drive a car (also a potential lethal weapon). I can’t drive drunk. The public’s safety is more important than the right to carry a weapon when the probability of violence due to alcohol and drugs (and fighting knuckleheads) increases a thousand-fold. If we have an entertainment zone in the middle of this neighborhood, then we have to be vigilant in making sure that people are safe: visitors, residents, businesses, even police.

I just do not understand why we can’t do this. Someone in the political sphere has to have the moxie and strength to put their foot down. Who?

Can it be done? How do we make Bourbon Street safer? Tell us what you think.


  • D, Turgeon

    How about requiring all bars to have metal detectors at the door, and personnel to operate them, as a condition of their liquor licensing? Since it’s illegal to carry a gun into a bar, metal detectors would merely be an extension of the current law. While such a program wouldn’t control guns on the streets of the 4tr, it would go a long way to reducing the number of guns brought into the 4tr. in the first place.

  • SwampKing

    How about hiring former NYPD Commisioner Ray Kelly? NYC is the safest big city…

  • Marc stakenburg

    You Americans never learn, do you? If Europeans knew that guns are allowed they would not visit Bourbon Street or New Orleans. You’re gun laws are insane. Wake up! Best from Amsterdam .