NEW ORLEANS — Cellphone videos of dangerous driving in New Orleans are all over the internet. At least four illegal meetups were widely publicized on social media over the weekend.
The posts called for about a half a dozen Baton Rouge-based groups to takeover New Orleans Sunday afternoon and evening. One video showed a popup at St. Claude and St. Roch Avenues.
“Cars drifting in the center, sometimes they were doing perfect donuts, some of it looked a little more uncontrolled,” Noe Regules a vendor at the nearby St. Roch Market said. “There were a lot of people getting really close to the vehicles.”
Regules estimates the crowd, and the stunt drivers were at the intersection for about 30 minutes before the first NOPD officer arrived on the scene. He said the way the crowd treated the lone officer was sad and disrespectful.
“When the crowd was being pushed back by the vehicle, that’s when the people jumped on top of the car, even attacking the car, kicking the car, a few of them throwing bottles at the car.”
Regules says backup arrived about eight minutes later and the crowd and stunt vehicles scattered. Albert Boggs is working on a building next to the intersection. He claims the stunt shows are becoming more frequent in the neighborhood.
“This intersection, the next intersection to the right and the other big intersection to the left, they just pull into an intersection and do donuts like it’s a movie or something and it’s not,” Boggs said. “People get hurt.”
Cellphone videos also showed traffic blocked and cars burning rubber at Chef Highway and Downman Road in New Orleans East.
Another showed a group of gun-toting young people pointing high-powered firearms at a popup at Annunciation and Calliope Streets, close to the convention center.
Blaine Kern, Jr. has a nearby event production business.
“Scares the heck out of me,” Kern said. “I’ve been here for gosh 30 years and my wife has a company next door where she has a lot of them talent that go in and out hours of the day. So, I’m extremely nervous about that happening around here.”
Back in St. Roch, Regules is still trying to wrap his brain around why people want to participate in these illegal stunt shows.
“I just wanted to know what was the point,” Regules said. “I didn’t understand any of it. I guess at a minimum, I’m just grateful nobody got hurt.”