The Listening Post Asks: How Has Gun Violence Impacted New Orleans?

May 15, 2014

Every week WWNO's Listening Post project asks questions about local news in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and reports back on the community's response. This week's topic is gun violence in the city.

The Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club's annual Mother's day parade spilled out from a bright green and orange house on Elysian Fields.

A year ago this same parade was the scene of a mass shooting. 

Edward Buckner prepares to lead the Original Big 7 Mother's Day second line.
Credit Jesse Hardman

Edward Buckner is the Executive Director and President of the Original Big 7. He says his club was not afraid of more violence. They even passed by the site of last year's shooting during the parade.

"We're so happy that nobody died, so instead of going to that stop and playing a dirge, and getting slow, and start crying, when we get to that spot, each division in this club is going to jump like never before because we're going to jump in celebration that God spared everybody's life that day and allowed all us to live and enjoy another day,” Buckner says.

He says it’s been a tough year since the shooting, but his club members were determined to celebrate as always.

"It's been hard for us as a club because my division, we was right there by the shooters, so, we had the psychiatrist came in and did some work with club members and stuff like that, try to help people get through. You can't let that get you in a way that you stop," he says.

This year’s parade was incident free. But there were 12 non-fatal shootings in New Orleans over the weekend. Victims included a pregnant teen in Algiers.

Click below to listen to our entire interview with Edward Buckner.

As always, we wanted to know what you think, so we sent out some questions via text message.

  • Have you ever avoided a parade or second line because of safety concerns?
  • How does gun violence affect you?
  • How do you stay safe?

Here are some of the responses we got:

"I am trying to figure out where in this country a human being can live where the police, the justice dept, and local politicians are more interested in justice and violent criminals rather than making massive money from minor traffic infractions of the struggling working poor who are attempting to remain decent and honorable citizens. Sadly I am seeking options to move out Orleans parish because the blatant and obvious corruption of local politicians massively oppressing the decent poor while allowing thug, gang and gunmen walk free."

“I’ve never avoided an event in fear of gun violence. I’m aware of it though. I’m a white guy who lives in a mixed neighborhood. I’m friendly with everybody in my area. I always think about how the young guys in my neighborhood have to fear the possibility of gun violence, but I don’t largely because I’m white. I’m not the target of shootings. About a month ago, 4 guys my age got shot in a drive by. Nobody died, but it didn’t even make the news."

“It doesn’t affect me, but I know it’s out there and I’m wary of being in larger crowds”

“I have only been to one second line in the 2 years I’ve been in New Orleans. I avoid them because of the random shootings that occur. Gun violence in this city is turning me into a hermit. I hate to leave home because you never know what to expect. ”

“Yes. I avoid known second line areas. I don’t stay stopped at red lights late at night. I don’t live in NOLA full time.”

“I often feel a little nervous at second lines & MG parades but the joy outweighs it. I was at the 1st Post-Katrina second line with my baby son. When the shooting started we ran like everybody else.”

“I live in the seventh ward and it is sometimes a concern, but I try not to let it rule my life. I worry for people, though.”

“Yes. I avoid second lines because of past violence.”

“Yes, I have avoided second lines because of gun violence. I don’t walk alone almost anywhere after dark. I moved out of a neighborhood I liked because there were too many drive-by shootings/murders.”

“I have never avoided a second line or parade despite being in the Mother’s Day shooting and lying on the ground as people around me were shot. I guess I’m nervous or more jumpy but feel like second lines are about love and community and violence shouldn’t trump that .”

“The shooting last year has stayed on my mind and makes me sad that someone could be so thoughtless. When I think of second lines I think of that shooting, which is too bad, but I also think of it as an isolated event. One asshole can’t stop the crowd from celebrating what makes our lives meaningful.”


Next week we'll be talking about housing costs in New Orleans. Rent... is it too high

Take a look at our questions of the week. If you'd like to add your voice to the conversation text "hello" or call our number (504-224-5314). 

We'll collect answers all week, then pick a few to highlight on our radio segment. 

You can also record your response at our Listening Post recording devices. There's one at Norman Mayer Library in Gentilly and Keller Library in Broadmoor.

Stop by and share your voice!

Hit us up… we’ll see YOU at the Listening Post.