NEW ORLEANS - Local tourism businesses in the French Quarter watched the video of a recent attack in the French Quarter in horror. They're worried for the victim and also worried violent crimes in the historic neighborhood will keep tourists away.
Ryan Bergeron's business, American Bicycle Rental Company, is down the street from the brutal French Quarter robbery that happened Saturday night.
"I'm in shock," Bergeron said. "Not surprised but shock to know someone was put in the hospital from a random attack six blocks from our office."
Staying safe in the city is now at the forefront of tourist's minds. Bergeron says customers ask him about safety all the time.
"Can you tell me where not to go? Can you tell me where I can go where I won't get beat up or mugged or shot?" Bergeron said.
Over at Royal Carriage Tours, customers worried about the same thing.
"We have heard a lot of concerns," Manager Nancy Landry said. "I don't think it has impacted business dramatically but we have had a few people cancel rides, cancel their trips to new Orleans."
Both businesses take precautions to keep customers and tour guides safe.
"All of our tour guides ride with green dye pepper spray, we have GoPros on all our tour guide bikes," Bergeron said.
"We normally tour a lot of the heavily pedestrian trafficked areas in the lower French Quarter and we haven't had any problems with that," Landry said. "In our opinion, we find the carriages are the safest way to tour the French Quarter."
But they're worried there's only so much they can do.
"In the past, it was fairly easy to tell people where to go, where not to go but now with the randomness of these crimes it doesn't matter where you go," Bergeron said.
Local business owners fear eventually tourists will find a safer place to spend their vacation.
"They need to find something to do about it immediately before it has an overall negative impact on the French Quarter," Bergeron said.
There's another big tourism weekend coming up with Essence Festival. WWL TV reached out to the New Orleans Visitor Bureau. They say they've been in close contact with Essence organizers and the festivities this weekend will go on as planned. At this time organizers have not said if they are doing anything differently in light of the French Quarter attack.
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