french quarter

New Orleans' most visited neighborhood rarely sees the type of violent crime that plagues other parts of the city. Recently, several high-profile robberies have rattled the region and led to criticism of the police department and the mayor, both of whom are rethinking safety measures.

Over the next few weeks, more and more visitors will roam the city's famous French Quarter, drinks in hand, for Mardi Gras. In less than 2 square miles, the French Quarter combines hotels, restaurants, street performers, and all-night bars with historic homes and tight-knit neighbors.

French Quarter residents are warning people to walk in groups to avoid violent crime.

They posted signs in the neighborhood that say, “Caution. Walk in Large Groups. We (Heart) NOPD. We Just Need More.”

Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says he’s temporarily assigning an eight-person task force to the Quarter. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says state and federal agencies should contribute more resources. He says the area generates sales tax that benefits the state, and is a national historic district.

JoAnn Clevenger grew up in a strong Baptist community in northern Louisiana and eventually found her way to New Orleans.
Historic New Orleans Collection

JoAnn Clevenger had never even heard of Mardi Gras until she moved to New Orleans in the late 1950’s. She dropped out of Tulane to care for her mother and then moved to the French Quarter shortly thereafter. At that point in her life the jazz clubs, restaurants and literary circles she hung around weren’t like anything she’d seen.

Ian McNulty

The New Orleans City Council is rethinking the idea of using unarmed citizen patrols in the French Quarter.

Some businesses in the city’s premier tourist destination want to know why actual police officers aren’t being hired.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu wanted to use voluntary hotel taxes to fund the patrols. The civilian officers would handle non-emergency matters, in theory — easing the workload for regular officers.

But several businesses are questioning why the city wouldn’t spend $2.3 million in annual revenue to hire fully qualified police officers.

JBrazito / Flickr

Ten people were wounded in a shooting early Sunday morning on Bourbon Street. One of the victims remains in critical condition, four others are hospitalized in stable condition.

A high-definition, robotic camera on the balcony of a popular karaoke bar called the Cat’s Meow caught it all on tape: First, total chaos, then bystanders rushing in to help the victims.

New Orleans police are investigating a shooting on Bourbon Street that injured nine people, two critically. Two men opened fire, injuring bystanders.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas says three officers were patrolling the area when gunfire erupted early Sunday morning.

He says it started with two men arguing, then opening fire. He says eyewitnesses are being interviewed and video surveillance tapes are being reviewed. The shooting was only a few blocks from Jackson Square and among several popular bars on the crowded street.

Infrogmation of New Orleans / Flickr

The future of 13 French Quarter souvenir shops is being decided Tuesday at the Board of Zoning Adjustments.

Seventeen shops in all were cited for violations last year as part of the city's crackdown on novelty stores, The Advocate reported.

The stores were said to be in violation of a 2011 city ordinance banning new tee-shirt shops in the French Quarter, and an older law that prohibits novelty shops from opening within 600 feet of another shop.

Grant Morris

Jerry Strahan has been wrangling Lucky Dog vendors for nearly 40 years and has the stories to prove it. Amy Wendel carries on the family tradition of Hove, the French Quarter's French Creole perfumery.

Plus, Amy and Jerry pay it forward with online marketers Ember Networks.


Eileen Fleming / WWNO

The Vieux Carré Commission is scheduled to hold a final hearing Wednesday on a restaurant proposed for the French Quarter. A year-long battle with residents over the project will likely continue, no matter what’s decided.

Sean Meenan wants open a two-story open-air Cuban restaurant at North Rampart Street and Esplanade Avenue. He operates two similar establishments in New York City and one in Malibu, California.

But neighbors of the proposed Habana Outpost say it’s too big, and it doesn’t belong where the Quarter also borders the historic Tremé and Marigny neighborhoods.