Mardi Gras in the ‘Big Easy’: New Orleans Residents Grapple with Crime Crisis

As it approaches its largest annual event, Mardi Gras – taking place on Feb. 21 this year – New Orleans is experiencing a major crime crisis.

Some of the city’s residents fear it could deter tourists from visiting and deprive the Big Easy of an anticipated economic boom.

With around one million guests predicted to attend, officials are hoping their security efforts will be enough to ensure visitors feel safe during carnival season without diminishing the fun spirit for which Louisiana’s capital has become renowned worldwide.

New Orleans Homicide Rate Skyrocketed

After becoming the “murder capital” of America in September, New Orlean’s homicide rate has skyrocketed to an alarming 277 killings this year – its highest level since 1996. Despite efforts from police and city officials, these homicides continue.

2023 has been an eventful year in terms of crime; homicides have risen by 14%, but other violent crimes, such as shootings and carjackings, are on the decline, compared to this time last year.

As Mardi Gras kicks off this Feb. 21, the city of New Orleans is warming up to welcome its annual influx of one million visitors – and the economic boost that comes with it. Yet, many residents are concerned about a looming crime crisis overshadowing the benefits of one of the world’s most renowned festivals.

With record-breaking numbers of visitors coming to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, LaToya Cantrell, the Democratic mayor, and the NOPD have responded by bringing in an additional 200 officers from around Louisiana.

Residents and Tourists Feel Threatened

Mary Murdock, the co-owner of Betsy’s Pancake House in New Orleans, revealed to Fox News Digital that numerous customers are feeling too threatened by crime to visit her beloved city.

Speaking candidly on their declining business numbers, due largely in part because of intense competition and threatening security conditions, Murdock expressed concern on how they could best solve this growing problem.

As Mardi Gras revelers flock to New Orleans, the city’s newly adopted “murder capital” name may be creating an unanticipated fear factor.

This warning comes from former police department superintendent Ronal Serpas who recently spoke with Fox News Digital about his concern that visitors could feel unsafe under these circumstances.

With robbery, carjacking, and shootings on an unrelenting rise, citizens of New Orleans are also living in fear, according to police superintendent Ronal Serpas, who says this is taking its toll on local business owners who rely heavily upon foot traffic for success.

Serpas also raised the alarm on Tuesday that a critical shortage of officers needs to be addressed if New Orleans is serious about curbing its recent crime surge.

Despite taking steps to improve the shortage of officers, such as providing signing and retention bonuses, their impact has yet to be seen – leaving police recruitment at an all-time low in the Big Easy.