NEW ORLEANS — Mitch Landrieu stood in front of a podium at the corner of Frenchmen and North Villere streets Thursday, the long sleeves of his white button down shirt rolled midway up his forearms.
New Orleans’ mayor recited the story of Ka’Nard Allen, the 10-year-old boy hit in the hail of gunfire that killed Brianna Allen who also was struck in Sunday’s Mother’s Day shooting, and used it as a window into what the streets of New Orleans can at times be.
The streets can be dangerous and tragic.
“This is almost impossible to fathom and understand but highlights again how incredibly damaging and far-reaching the culture of violence has become because when the damage is done, especially to a young man like this and to our young citizens, it is hard to undo,” Landrieu said.
But he followed with a different message.
“We all came back here to make it clear that the culture of death and violence on the streets of New Orleans is unnatural, is unacceptable and the people of New Orleans have had enough,” Landrieu said.
In all, 20 people were injured in the brazen shooting that halted the Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club’s second line. Three remain in critical condition, including The Gambit reporter Deborah Cotton.
Police sources tell Eyewitness News that the shooting possibly was retaliation by members of the Frenchmen and Derbigny Boys gang for shooting by other gangs, including the Desolonde Boys of the 9th Ward.
During Thursday’s news conference, Landrieu said a few people are committing the bulk of the murders and shootings in the city.
“They are, in fact, terrorizing our streets,” Landrieu said.
That’s changing, he intimated, thanks to the city’s citizens deciding they have had enough of the violence.
“It cannot be said enough that the people of New Orleans have made this happen, quite frankly because we as a community have said enough is enough,” the mayor said.
Through the anonymity of CrimeStoppers, New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said detectives are getting tips that are helping investigators close down cases.
In the past week, the NOPD announced a 51-count indictment of 15 members of the 110'ers gang, one of the first of what Serpas said he hopes area series of such announcements.
Landrieu went further, saying that quick investigations like the one that ended with the capture and arrest of two brothers police believe played a primary role in the Mother’s Day shooting will only embolden those with information to step forward more quickly and with greater ease.
“You see this action taking place today and so now, when there is an action, you’re seeing an immediate response and you’re seeing a fairly substantial consequence,” Landrieu said. “If you keep doing that over and over and over again, that’s called deterrence, both general and specific. It’s really important for the people of the city to know that now that you see what it looks like when it works, if we keep doing it, this city is going to get safe again.”