NEW ORLEANS – Local funk-rock band Flow Tribe’s new single is “You Know What It’s All About.”
But on Thursday night, it was all about survival and staying calm for lead singer K.C. O’Rorke after a group of young men in an SUV pulled up to him and robbed him at gunpoint.
“One (man) was pointing a gun at me and my girlfriend,” he said Friday. “Then the other one was getting in the car.”
O’Rorke said he and his girlfriend were leaving their house in the 4200 block of Walmsley Avenue in Broadmoor about 10 p.m. Thursday when they decided to go get ice cream.
He said the criminals appeared young – possibly even out for a joyride -- but what followed was still three minutes of terror that ended with him throwing his keys at them.
“It all happened so fast. Mainly, I just wanted to get across to the assailants that ‘I’m not looking at you. We’re not resisting here. Just take whatever you want,’” O’Rorke said. “Of course I tried to place myself in between them and my girlfriend just to make sure she was OK.”
Flow Tribe had just wrapped up a benefit concert for Brother Martin’s band program at Tipitina’s.
The robbers made off not only with O’Rorke’s 2008 Jeep Compass, but his instruments as well.
“I have a case that has two trumpets in it, so if one goes out, then I have a backup trumpet,” he said. “But yeah, they took off with that.”
Neighbors who live in the area told Eyewitness News the crime is rare for their area.
“I’ve been here since 1998 and we’ve never had anything like that,” said Barbara Hunter.
“It’s just sad when these things happen to anybody, but when it happens to someone like K.C. who does so much for his community, it really just drives home and personalizes the crime issue,” added Kevin Caldwell, who also lives in the area.
But O’Rorke said he is just glad to be alive and his girlfriend is safe.
“You hate to lose stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s just stuff,” he said.
Flow Tribe, a six-piece funk band, was formed in 2004 by the group of high school friends. The band was featured on an episode of "The Real World: New Orleans" in 2010, and makes regular appearances at area festivals, including the past five years at Jazz Fest.
The band will perform Saturday night at the New Orleans Oyster Festival in Woldenberg Park.
O’Rorke said he already has replacement trumpets on hand for that show thanks to other local musicians who heard about his ordeal.
Police continue to look for O'Rorke's blue-gary 2008 Jeep Compass with Louisiana license plate TTZ 818.
Anyone who sees it is asked to call the New Orleans Police Department at (504) 821-2222.
New Orleans Advocate staff writer Ramon Antonio Vargas contributed to this report.