NEW ORLEANS — The 50-year-old woman killed on Mardi Gras Day has been identified as a grandmother who lost her son to gun violence just last year.
A family member identified the victim of Tuesday's shooting on Claiborne Avenue as Nicole Williams.
"She was honest and she was always there," a family member we spoke with said. "Everybody was connected to her some type of way. Every time you see her at a party she’s laughing, cracking jokes, turning up, taking pictures. She loved to take pictures.”
The family member we spoke with asked not to be identified out of fear for their safety.
New Orleans police say Williams was shot and killed around 9:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of N. Claiborne Avenue, where hundreds of people gather to celebrate Mardi Gras.
"We was just together yesterday," her family member said, remembering the last time she saw her. "She was happy, she was smiling, you know, ‘how you doing? Be safe. I love you.’ That normal family stuff. Not me not knowing and walking off that that would be my last time seeing her.”
According to her family, Williams left the city after her son was killed in 2022, but came back to spend Mardi Gras with her grandchildren.
Now, that same violence is driving away another member of her family, who hopes they can make a better life for their child in another city.
"I am leaving," they said. "I told myself I wasn't going to leave until she got older. But there's no reason to wait now. It's so much going on. It is so scary. You can't even attempt to live a normal life.”
Because the pain of losing a family member is something they never want to feel again.
“If you love your life and you value yourself and you from this city and I'm telling this to everyone, protect your family," they said. "Do what's best for your family. Love them, care for them. Don't argue with them. Get closer to them because this city will take them from you.”
The family set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Nicole Williams' funeral.