NEW ORLEANS - Filled with bars, music, and restaurants, the French Quarter is a mecca for tourists. But a recent spike in violent crime has those who work in the area on edge.
“It's scary, we're all on alert right now as far as working in the French Quarter,” said Pat O’Briens employee Derri Scott, who says one of her co-workers was robbed and beaten last month in the French Quarter after leaving work.
In a five day span, the French Quarter saw six armed robberies and two vicious beatings.
Musician Doug Potter was attacked after leaving a gig early Monday morning, sending him into an induced coma.
French Quarter employees say the crime hits close to home.
“It impacts the way I carry a purse, nothing to give them attention, I don't wear the jewelry to give off attention,” said Scott. “I make sure I'm constantly looking over my shoulder, looking around making sure nobody's following me.”
“A lot of employees in the Quarter have been talking about the musician and telling each other to be careful,” said Brianna Juarez, employee of Jackie’s Women’s Clothing in Jackson Square.
Juarez says tourists are often concerned about safety, too.
“They always ask what streets they should walk on, if they should be worried,” said Juarez.
Officials say you should stay in well lit, busy areas like Canal, Decatur, or Bourbon Streets. But you've got to be careful anywhere you go. At the intersection of Bourbon and St. Louis Streets, an armed robbery at knife point was reported January 12 at 2 pm.
With tens of thousands of people gearing up to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras, tourism officials have advice for visitors.
“Be where the activity is and use common sense as you would with any other major city,” said Mark Romig, President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.
Romig doesn’t believe recent crime will impact the number of people who visit during Carnival.
But those who work in the French Quarter say they're taking extra precautions and tourists should too.
If you have any information that could help police solve the recent crimes in the French Quarter, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.