‘Embarrassing;’ New Orleanians blame officials for out of control crime, negative business impacts
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleanians say visiting some parts of the city just isn’t worth the risk and that crime is impacting businesses that rely on locals.
“It’s just been a nightmare for the guests and the owners of Quarter House Resorts,” said Nikki Krivjanick, general manager at the hotel. She said crime near Quarter House is getting worse.
“It’s pretty scary. Of course, we get off at different times. I don’t have a set schedule so if I’m done after dark, it becomes a little scarier to leave out of here at night when you have people that are pick-pocketing, snatching purses at Exchange Alley and Iberville.”
She said she has contacted city officials and police about the crime near her workplace, but feels like her plea for help just falls through the cracks. And now it’s having an impact on their guest list.
Just like at iconic French Quarter restaurants.
“I’m hearing from guests, ‘Is it worth coming down to the French Quarter?’ Because at a certain point there is a lack of feeling safe,” said Christian Pendleton, general manager of Brennan’s.
He said there are certain days throughout the year when locals eat at the restaurant for different celebrations or milestones. But on any given day, the tables are full of tourists here on vacation or for conventions.
“We haven’t created what we have because of visitors. We’re grateful for them. We’ve created what we have over 75 years because of how we’ve been able to take care of our local guests,” said Pendleton. “They are our most important guests and if they don’t feel comfortable down here, then that chips away at the morale of everybody.”
Licensed tour guide Frank Perez works and lives in the French Quarter.
“For me, I stay pretty much to the interior of the Quarter and that’s not a problem. But what I do find trouble with is people asking about what to do late at night like is it safe to walk to Frenchman Street?” said Perez. “Ordinarily I would say it’s perfectly fine, but now-- not so much.”
He’s hoping city leaders do something about the crime before it’s too late.
“It’s very embarrassing that the city has let crime get out of control along with all the other things like graffiti. And it’s not only embarrassing but damaging in the long term,” Perez said.
Lack of action from the city, he said, doesn’t make locals proud of New Orleans. He said tourists will continue to visit but many locals would rather take their business out of the city.
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