NEW ORLEANS -- A small area of Mid-City has become a hot spot for crime. Even with increased police patrols, neighbors are scared.

"It's like almost like we’re in a, like, in a foreign country or something, like that like Afghanistan," said a man who lives in the area.

The city took action today and fined a party venue where three young men were killed and two others wounded during the weekend.

That comes after neighbors loudly complained at an emergency meeting that the city must do something about what they say is increasing crime in the area.

And while the city is acting fast to fine that party venue, today some people in the Mid-City area were too scared to talk about crime in their area on camera. Others wanted to give solutions.
The crime map paints a bloody picture: In 2017 alone, 11 people were shot -- five dead -- in a small, two-by-four-block area in Mid-City. That's not including the killing of an armored car worker nearby. And last year's headlines look strikingly the same.

"I think it's a sad thing that's going on but, uh, what can we do about it?' asked resident Melvin James.

Those headlines have faces and tears of loved ones behind them, like Zachary Nelson, only 21 years old, gone in an instant from flying bullets outside of a party over the weekend.

Today police cars sat outside the building where Nelson and two others took their last breath on the street. So do stuffed bears and balloons.

Today the city cited Mid-City Event Center for its illegal use as a reception hall. Entergy turned off power after the city said it was violating electricity regulations.

At the time of the triple murder this weekend, dispatch logs show NOPD had three squad cars within two blocks before the shooting. The NOPD said one was a half-block away. It's been part of an ongoing broader effort to establish and maintain heavy law enforcement presence in the Tulane corridor.

Still, some are scared.

"It's gotten ridiculous out here. I'm scared to come out at night, walk these streets you know," said resident Allen Benton.

"This area of town is real dangerous because of the prostitutes and the drugs, things of that nature," said a man who lives there but didn't want to give his name.

"I stay inside due to the crime. It's too dangerous and it's unsafe for me and my family," said a grandmother who didn't want to show her face on camera through her screen door. "Back in my day, it wasn't so much killings. We fought each other but we didn't kill each other, you know? It's just that they have to reach for a gun so quick you know. That's just the only heart breaking thing about it," Benton added.

But one new family to the neighborhood said saving the area is worth it.

"I'm happy to be a part of this welcoming community that has opened up their arms to me, so I will do what I hopefully can to be a part of the solution," Lauren Phipps said. "What unfortunately happened right down the street is not indicative of the community in which we live, which is very strong, very warm, and I'm very fortunate to live here.

“So I think it's going to take the community and the police force working together to remedy this situation."
Eyewitness News tried the talk to the owner of the Mid-City Event Center, but Allen Borne, who is a local attorney, never returned our phone calls.

Property code violations in New Orleans can include fines. The Mid-City Event Center property only had permission to operate as a restaurant.