Beads and trinkets litter the 400 block of Bourbon Street in the French Quarter on Sunday. New Orleans police said Saturday’s shooting did not prevent people from returning Sunday night to continue to party.
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NEW ORLEANS — Gunshots erupted in a crowd of bead-wearing, drink-carrying late-night revelers on Bourbon Street during the countdown to Mardi Gras, wounding four people and sending bystanders running and screaming.
Hours later on Sunday, though, the same stretch was packed with partiers who said they weren’t letting the violence spoil their fun.
In a video taken by a witness Saturday night and released the next day, the shootings were preceded by footage of people standing shoulder to shoulder in New Orleans’ famed tourist district. A section of the frame highlighted by police shows people jostling and speaking with angry expressions.
Police said the video showed an argument involving one of the shooting victims and the suspects. Two men left the argument and returned with a third, then approached the victim as at least one of the suspects began shooting.
Four shots were heard in rapid succession, followed by screams as some in the crowd staggered into one another and a nearby wall.
A man whom police identified as one of the suspects walked through the crowd with his arm extended as the gunshots were heard, though it’s difficult to make out a weapon.
Police said Sunday they were seeking the three men and that they’ve identified one suspect, but they did not release the name.
The shootings wounded two men and two women. Three were treated as hospital outpatients; the fourth was hospitalized with a wound to his abdomen, city police said.
The shooting occurred on the last weekend of partying before Mardi Gras, the Fat Tuesday celebration that is the signature tourist event of the year in New Orleans.
For thousands of people, the partying continued despite the shooting. Parades rolled under cloudy skies Sunday before crowds of onlookers, though the shootings were on the minds of some revelers.
“It was very disappointing,” said New Orleans resident Carol Redmann-Bailey. “I was disappointed and sad, but it seems like Bourbon Street stayed open. ... Let the good times roll.”
New Orleans has been plagued for years by violent crime, including gun violence that has soared since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.
Sixteen people in 2011 were shot and at least two killed in Halloween shootings in New Orleans.