NEW ORLEANS — Gunshots erupted in a crowd of bead-wearing, drink-carrying late-night revelers on Bourbon Street during the countdown to Mardi Gras, wounding four people and sending bystanders running and screaming. Hours later on Sunday, though, the same stretch was packed with partiers who said they weren't letting the violence dampen their fun.
Police said that they were seeking three men and that they've identified one suspect, but won't release the name.
The shootings wounded two men and two women, three of whom were treated and released Sunday. One man hit in the abdomen, thigh and pelvis was in stable condition Sunday after surgery the previous night, New Orleans police spokesman Hilal Williams said.
Another man was shot in the buttocks, one woman was shot on the chin and right foot, and the second woman was shot on the toe, police said. No ages or names were released.
The shooting came on the last weekend of partying before Mardi Gras, the Fat Tuesday celebration that is the signature tourist event of the year in New Orleans. And for thousands, the partying continued despite the shooting. Parades rolled under cloudy skies Sunday before crowds of onlookers, though the shootings were on the minds of some revelers.
"It was very disappointing," said New Orleans resident Carol Redmann-Bailey. "I was disappointed and sad, but it seems like Bourbon Street stayed open. … Let the good times roll."
Patrick Clay, a 21-year-old Louisiana State University student, told the Times-Picayune that he was standing on the corner of Bourbon Street on Saturday night when suddenly he saw a crowd running and people screaming that there had been a shooting.
"Everyone immediately started running and the cops immediately started running toward where people were running from," Clay said. "I was with a group of about seven people and at that point, we all just kind of grasped hands and made our way through the crowd as soon as possible."
Julia Rosenthal, a 19-year-old from Westchester, N.Y., had mixed feelings about hanging out in the French Quarter after the shooting. "It's not an okay thing that happened, and it's definitely scary. But I'm not going to let it affect my night," she said.
Peter Manabani, an employee at the Rat's Hole bar, said police had shut down a whole Bourbon Street block for an hour to investigate but allowed people to return to the area later.
Hours later on Sunday, there was little evidence that a shooting had occurred. Revelers were in full party mode, packing the block amid a police presence.