NEW ORLEANS — It’s reckless, illegal, and happening on the streets of New Orleans.
Mobs of people suddenly appear to watch drivers do donuts and slide around while burning rubber.
A neighbor shot cellphone video of just such an event two Sundays ago near the corner of St. Bernard Avenue and North Rampart Street and shared it with WWL-TV.
It showed people hanging out of cars, spinning in circles and screeching tires in a cloud of smoke.
“I’ve seen tags as far away as Oklahoma and Texas to meet up at a pre-determined time, usually at dark about 6 o’clock to 6:30 and from the last incident, they were here for about two hours,” a man who did not want to give his name said.
Organizers block off traffic in the neighborhood.
Neighbors say during one recent event, a driver took off after hitting some parked cars.
“A car headed down St. Bernard, clipped a car and proceeded to hit and run,” one said.
Other neighbors say the cars shows tend to come and go just about every weekend, usually on Sunday nights.
“Hanging out of the trunks, the pickup beds and even the windows,” Greg Martinez said. “I think it’s very reckless.”
“A lot of people will join in when they’re doing the donuts and jump out,” Kendyl Riesz said. “One day somebody’s going to get hit and it’s very loud, too.”
New Orleans State Representative Royce Duplessis says the city needs to do more to prevent the illegal stunts.
“I’ve already had several conversations with the city and NOPD,” Duplessis said. “Implement some cement barriers that don’t impede the flow of traffic but will basically serve as little mini-neutral grounds which will stop them from being about to spin out in certain intersections.”
These events are not random. They’ve been described as kind of a flash mob or a pop up that are planned out and organized on social media.
“They know where to meet,” Duplessis said. “They know when to meet. The idea is to do for as long as possible until the police show up.”
Donut skid marks now cover the roadway on this stretch of St. Bernard Avenue, underscoring the problem and frequency of these lawless car shows.
“I do think they have bets on who can last (the longest) and it’s rated,” one neighbor said. “Who’s the best in the city? Who’s the best wheelman in the city?”
Some neighbors have complained about what they called the NOPD’s slow response to these rubber-burning events.
In a statement, a police spokesman told WWL-TV, “NOPD investigates all incidents of reckless driving that are observed or reported. Anyone who sees such behavior is urged to call police and report the activity immediately.”