NEW ORLEANS —
“One of the hardest phone calls that I’ve had to make is calling the parents, as well as understanding she has a 19 year old daughter.," New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said about the recent killing of a local nurse.
Before heading into a Parks Millage Proposal Meeting in New Orleans East, Eyewitness News spoke with Cantrell about Sunday’s deadly shooting on Bourbon Street that killed 36-year-old Julie Couvillon.
"The services are going to be on Saturday. I have expressed not only my condolences to the entire family but just our ability as a city to just wrap our arms around the family," Mayor Cantrell said.
Early Sunday morning around 3:15, Couvillon was walking on Bourbon Street after a fun night out, when she was struck by gunfire.
Police said the suspect, Louis Barnes, was selling drugs when a security guard at Willie’s Chicken shack noticed when he was doing and tried to stop him.
“The community needs to know that they lost a great nurse,” Dr. Patricia Prechter, Dean of College of Nursing and Health Sciences said.
Dr. Prechter taught Couvillon when she attended the University of Holy Cross. Couvillon graduated in 2005.
“I was at home and heard it on the news and I heard her name. And thought, ‘I think I know Julie.’ But, when I went on Facebook and then her classmates immediately started 'Facebooking,' I knew it was Julie.” Prechter said.
Prechter remembers Couvillon being a young mother, bright and early to start her nursing career. In a challenging and rigorous program, one thing she said she noticed from the start was Couvillon's calm and caring attitude.
“She had a sweet smile and when, I think back, I never remember her not having that sweet smile. She was such a great, great student,” Prechter said.
Wednesday, the school will honor Couvillon during their morning prayer service.
As the city prepares for Mardi Gras and busy crowds on Bourbon Street, Cantrell wants the public to know they’re preparing as best as they can.
"Every incident is an opportunity to just also reassess. Use it as a teachable moment. Things that we may be able to improve upon in the future. Even as it relates to training by officers that security officers, not just along Bourbon Street, but it is an area of high demand in terms traffic and so it's something that we are doing,” Mayor Cantrell said.