Festivals — Staying Safe

By: Christian Prevost

Crime in New Orleans has been an issue for decades, with some citizens proudly boasting to be living in a murder capital during the years the city held the title.  Police chiefs have promised to clean up the streets by implementing different tactics that seem to only keep a single event or area safe.

The spring season of festivals has officially kicked off, but the murder and crime rate has risen to heights not seen since 2007.  This spike in crime comes at the worst time for the city, with All- Star Weekend having been Feb. 17-19 and Mardi Gras on Feb. 28. All-Star weekend was no stranger to the city’s violent crimes, with two people being murdered and six other people being wounded.

These transgressions didn’t truly affect the All-Star event itself.  One of the shootings happened in the New Orleans East area of the city, which is on the other side of the city, posing no interruption to the festivities. One of the murders did take place within a few blocks of the event, happening in the 1500 block of Canal Street where a man was pronounced dead at the scene after being found shot in a parking lot.  These offenses were an everyday crime that the city would have gone through whether All-Star was happening or not.  What All-Star did was shine a light on New Orleans’ surge in crime on a national scale.

During this year’s Mardi Gras season, there were over a dozen violent crimes. One of the most notable was the drunk driver who ran into the Endymion crowd at Orleans and Carrolton, injuring 32 and sending 21 to the hospital. This type of crime is part of a lot of senseless crimes that are heightened by the festival seasons in New Orleans.

With more major festivals on the way such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival, and Essence fest people are putting an emphasis on safety within the city.  The festival goer’s thoughts on safety come in mind of the children first, with some patrons deciding not to do any night time festivities with their kids. One person, a Delgado student Chandra Collins saying, “I’ll feel better if my child isn’t with me after dark because anything can happen so it’s better to be safe than sorry.” The absence of children will likely put a slight strain on the festival attendance, but not where it will make or break the ongoing festivals.  The dip will most likely only be from locals as visitors tend to not bring kids with them for most festivals.

The age appropriate attendants will continue to localize the festivals and continue to bring their safety into their own hands.  For some, it will be a good thing, because that will mean they will only be taking extra precautions to be safe.  Like not parking in sketchy neighborhoods or, making sure they’re not too out of their minds when traveling around at night.  The other side of the dual-edge sword is that some people may take the law into their hand as they’re getting mugged and they fight back and cause harm to themselves or others by using violent methods to keep themselves safe.

People will no doubt enjoy all the up incoming festivals, they’ll just have to think safe and practice safe tactics to get through the festivals.


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