NEW ORLEANS – "The St. Roch Tavern is a neighborhood staple," said Derrick Floyd, president of the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association.
That’s why he is shocked that it was robbed at gunpoint just after 6 p.m. Wednesday night.
Surveillance video inside the business shows two men walking in.
One man went behind the bar and demanded cash from the register, while the other pointed a gun at three customers in the bar.
Then, the robber behind the bar jumped over the counter, and the two ran off. It all happened in just 28 seconds.
“By the time they were in here and to this side of the bar, I knew they weren't here for beer or tacos,” said bartender Wende Wagner, who was behind the bar when it all happened.
Wagner said the robbers appeared to be young, and seemed just as nervous as the customers inside.
“It just happens, it's New Orleans,” said Wagner. “It’s just a little setback. It's alright.”
St. Roch Tavern is located just behind the old St. Roch Market, which is under renovation, and several homes nearby are also getting a face lift. Pedestrians even walked on the new Art Walk Thursday night.
Neighbors have been working closely with police and city officials to breath new life into the area, and they say crime like this is disheartening.
“When incidents like this happen, they're shocking, they're devastating they are unfortunate,” said Floyd. “But the neighborhood association believes that if we stick together, we're powerful together.”
The armed robbery is one of several recent incidents in the area.
Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, a man was shot in the 1900 block of Painters Street. At last check, he was hospitalized in critical condition.
Wednesday night, just hours after St. Roch Tavern was robbed, another armed robbery happened near Markey’s Bar in the Bywater.
Police say four women were together on a corner in the 3000 block of Royal Street, near Markey's, when a male approached them and tried to steal one of their purses at gunpoint. Another three males acted as lookouts, all four suspects ran off after the attempted armed robbery.
Shortly after, three of the suspects, ages 11, 13, and 14, were arrested in the area of St. Claude and St. Ferdinand, said police. Their identities are not being released because they are juveniles.
Charles Ducros, 17, fled on a bike and was later arrested in the 3100 block of Urquhart Street. He, along with the 11 and 14 year old, are charged with four counts of attempted armed robbery. The 13-year-old was booked with accessory armed robbery and three counts of attempted armed robbery.
Police are now looking into whether they are responsible for other crimes in the area.
Crime maps show there have been six armed robberies since Saturday within a half mile radius in the Marigny, Bywater and St. Roch neighborhoods.
“The 5th district is struggling with manpower, but we believe at this time they're doing as much as they can with what they have to work with,” said Floyd.
Wagner describes the men who robbed the St. Roch Tavern as young black males. The gunman was wearing a dark sweatshirt and dark beanie with a pom pom. The other suspect had a black hoodie with thin tan stripes, pulled tight around his face.
Police added that one suspect was 5’9” and about 150 lbs and the second subject was 5’10” and about 170 lbs.
If you have any information, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. You don’t have to leave your name and could get a cash reward.