NEW ORLEANS -- After 10 people were shot Sunday morning on Bourbon Street, many in New Orleans began to question exactly how many police officers were working on the city’s most famous street.
Eyewitness News requested manpower information from the NOPD, and Tuesday, the agency released beat books that show which officers were working in the NOPD's Eighth District. It covers part of the Marigny, the French Quarter and the Central Business District.
The beat books show four officers were on foot patrolling the 13-block stretch of Bourbon from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue when the shots rang out.
Police reiterated Tuesday that they believe two suspects were firing at each other, with evidence of that discovered at the scene. Those in the crowd took the brunt of the bullets.
Even with a crowd of witnesses and cameras watching from a number of different angles, New Orleans police still worked to sort through the chaos of the event Tuesday, searching for two persons of interest to question about what happened.
The surveillance video from businesses in the area showed police responding to the scene in the aftermath.
“There were three officers less than a block away from this particular incident,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, speaking publicly for the first time about the shooting Tuesday.
The beat books confirmed 27 officers were working Sunday morning in the Eighth District.
“Nine of them were assigned to specific Bourbon Street duties,” said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
That number includes five mounted officers on horseback and two officers doing proactive patrols with two uniformed officers for what the NOPD calls the Bourbon Street Promenade on foot Sunday.
Two promenade officers had called in sick, one was on vacation and for three it was their regular day off.
“It troubles me, but it troubles me every night that sometimes it's even worse than that. But I understand that Commander [Jeffery] Walls with the 8th District, he's doing the best he can with the resources he's got,” said Bob Simms, the head of the Security Task Force for the French Quarter Management District.
The group of business owners and residents will look to overtime for help beefing up the NOPD presence, according to Simms.
“Using the Office of Police Secondary Employment, we would hire police officers to patrol the streets at certain hours of the day, certain areas and provide the extra resources on the street,” Simms said.
The beat books show some were already working overtime shifts last weekend.
“The 8th district is gonna have anywhere from 100 to 120 hours of overtime every week to have extra officers answering the radio, have extra officers doing proactive police work and doing undercover work,” Serpas said.
But the management district wants more, especially since those 27 officers counted in the Eighth District at the time of the shooting include four supervisors and one officer working the Eighth District desk.
“Of course we'd all like more. That's not the issue here. The issue is that's a lot of people given the way we're able to deploy today,” Serpas said.
The mayor said Tuesday that he has asked the Louisiana State Police to put 100 of their troopers in New Orleans permanently to help secure state assets like the Superdome, the Convention Center and the arena, not to mention more area highways, a move that speaks to the critical need for more officers on the force as the city struggles to hire quickly enough.