Mike Hoss / Eyewitness News
It was a picture perfect wedding and reception but afterward the result of the wedding party's venture onto Bourbon Street resulted in a chaotic situation.
'It was chaos,' said Dwayne Lewis. 'It was a mauling. It was a public mauling, that's what it was.'
Dwayne Lewis is the father of the groom and he and a group of about 20 others went into the Fat Catz Club at 440 Bourbon St. around 1 a.m. on January 23. He says he noticed a commotion near the stage.
When he got outside, Lewis said several of the bar's security members were on top of and beating his son Devin and another wedding party member, Trenton Roy. Someone from a balcony nearby caught it on video.
'They had so many people, and I was knocked out,' said Roy. 'I was unconscious most of the time.'
Lewis said a second fight broke out behind him that eventually had Gerard LeCour, another wedding party member, in the fracas.
'He's by himself,' Lewis said of LeCour. 'Ain't doing nothing. Standing there...boom...my daughter sees that and she tries to tell him something and he shoves her by the throat.'
Lewis' daughter, Rebecca, said she couldn't believe what was happening.
'There were just people everywhere,' she said. '(They were) throwing punches and I was just trying to figure out where my family was.'
Yet another wedding party member was a man named Austin Tolleson. He was sitting on the ground until he was pulled back to the wall by several men, where he says he was beaten and then someone from the crowd joined in.
'At the time I was getting hit,' he recalled. 'While I was defenseless, (I was) kicked, punched. It was several people getting shots in.'
Austin managed to get up and escape, but not before his eye was injured, which he said blurred his vision for days. He had swelling behind his ear and said he thought the bouncers had fractured his jaw.
Just when the scene appeared to calm down, the video shows a man getting Trenton in a headlock and Dwayne Lewis' wife trying to get him.
'She's telling him, 'Please let me have him, he's hurt,'' said Lewis, who contended that his wife was then struck.
Dwayne's daughter Ashley saw her mom go to the ground and she reached out to slap the bouncer, who then appears to hit her with an open hand. Ashley said she bumped into an NOPD officer who had his back to the entire scene.
'I must have fallen into him,' she said. 'He turned around and nudged me and tackled me like I was the one fighting, when I wasn't.'
Ashley said it has been a traumatic ordeal and that she left college to deal with all the emotions.
'Like seeing your family getting hit and beat up,' she said. 'And, like the cops, people who are supposed to protect us, not doing anything.'
The family said they weren't throwing punches, just trying to protect other people in their party. They said NOPD officers were there fast enough, but didn't take control of the scene and let security stay in command.
Eighth District Commander Ed Hosli disagrees.
'Once you get there, you're trying to separate the fight and, again, if you have multiple fights going on at a time, you're just trying to hold people back. I don't think that's an accurate statement. I don't know what actually took place, but it will be investigated. I can assure you of that.
HOW IT STARTED
So, what happened inside of the bar to initiate the multiple fights outside. The police eventually arrested one person wedding party member Jason Broome and charged him with aggravated assault for hitting a bouncer in the head with a bottle.
Broome said a bouncer picked him out of the crowd as the culprit, but he said he didn't do anything.
Asked by Eyewitness News if he hit anyone, Broome said he did not. 'I had a drink in my hand, a cup with a drink in it and I didn't hit anybody. I was just standing there watching.'
Jason is pictured all over the video walking around with a cup in one hand and a beer in the other. He appears to be checking out the situation, but he's never hit by a bouncer in the video provided to WWL-TV. He's never even talked to by a bouncer, yet he is alleged to have started the entire fracas and now he's facing felony charges.
'I had to spend a whole day in Orleans Parish prison,' he recalled. 'It cost my parents $5,000 to get me out of jail.'
The Fat Catz club only released a five-second piece of video from inside of the club, which shows someone hitting and kicking a security guard our the door.
Lewis said he doesn't know who it is, but he said his son Devin is seen walking out of the club alone and that he was right behind him. There's no one around them at the time, but that changed when they got outside.
'Can you imagine if we didn't have somebody come up to us and give us this video,' he asked. 'Where would we be. The same thing will happen next Saturday night. I don't want this to happen to another man to come down here with his family.'
Mike Perlstein contributed to this report.