NEW ORLEANS - Musician Aaron Cummings will never forget the day his drum was damaged in the aftermath of a shooting at a Mother's Day second line near his Seventh Ward home.
Shots rang out as Cummings and a friend were walking to play an impromptu song at the second line. Twenty people were injured. Cummings’ instrument was damaged as he and others ran from the scene.
Now Cummings hopes the tragedy will inspire positive change.
“Maybe that will open everybody's eyes,” said Cummings. “I pray that it does.”
After the shooting, Mayor Mitch Landrieu promised to reclaim the corner of Frenchmen and N. Villere. The first step? Answering neighbors cries to demolish a blighted home nearby.
City crews plan to tear it down by hand over the course of this week.
“I think if they tear that down it would immediately cease a lot of unnecessary activity that they have around here,” said Cummings. “That's maybe just the beginning, or a good start.”
Records show this property has been on the city's radar for years.
One neighbor, who declined to go on camera, said he had called the city repeatedly about the house. He believes it shouldn't have taken a mass shooting for the city to finally take action.
Others are just happy something will be done.
“Take it down because all them crackheads be hiding up in there you know what I mean,” said neighbor Arthur Ross. “And once you get rid of that, you got it made baby.”
Ross has lived in the Seventh Ward for 47 years.
He hopes the city targets other blighted homes in the area for demolition as well. Ross said several vacant houses have become havens for drugs and vagrants.
“It's best to clean up the neighborhood and let's live like people instead of dogs,” said Ross.
And when it comes to cleaning up a neighborhood, Ross said, it's important to stick together.
“You have to help the mayor out. Help the chief of police out. Help them out. They can't be blamed for everything,” said Ross.
Neighbors like Cummings hope the upcoming demolition will be a good first step in an ongoing fight.
A city spokesman said crews have already started removing the roof by hand. Demolition is expected to wrap up by the end of the week.