NEW ORLEANS -- Less than 24 hours after a fatal auto accident killed 61-year-old pedestrian Anthony Hickman, his family gathered near the scene demanding action from the city of New Orleans.
New Orleans police say Hickman was attempting to cross the street near the intersection of S. Claiborne Avenue and General Taylor when he was hit by a car driven by a 17-year-old woman. Police say the driver was not served with a citation for the accident.
It's the second deadly accident involving a pedestrian near that intersection in less than a month, but residents say several similar incidents have occurred along Claiborne Avenue.
They attribute many of those accidents to a lack of street lights.
"From Napoleon and South Claiborne to Martin Luther King and Claiborne, there are no lights and it has been a year plus," said Tanya Lafayette, the niece of victim Anthony Hickman.
Lafayette, along with family and friends of Hickman, held a vigil Tuesday to remember the father of three. She said her uncle was trying to cross the street to get home Monday night.
Streetlights, she said, could have saved Hickman's life.
"He did not have to die this way. This was senseless, and I need the representatives, the City Council and the mayor to show how they care by getting these lights up," said Lafayette.
Some residents acknowledged that there is a good amount of drinking that takes place along the Claiborne corridor, and that some of those people do attempt to cross the street.
"Sure, but that doesn't mean they deserve to get hit. We need lights out here. At certain parts you can't see anything after dark," said Anthony Dickerson.
Christina Knightsen was pushing her 4-month-old son Carsten in a stroller near the 3700 block of Claiborne Tuesday afternoon.
She said she won't cross the street with her son, especially after dark.
"When I go to the store I don't bring him with me, because if one these cars hit me, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I lived and he passed away," said Knightsen.
As part of a $2 million streetscape project, new energy efficient LED lights are supposed to be in place on South Claiborne Avenue from Napoleon Avenue to Martin Luther King.
We reached out to Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office for comment regarding the lighting situation on South Claiborne. They issued this statement:
"The safety of our residents is a top priority. As we work to finish this important project, we encourage citizens to use crosswalks and other safety precautions on major thoroughfares. Because of poor performance, we removed the contractor from the streetlight portion of the S. Claiborne Corridor project a few weeks ago, and immediately put in place our streetlight contractor who will complete the work in the next 30 days."