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After Shooting, New Orleans Area Begins To Return To Normal


Some other news, New Orleans police have arrested six people after last Sunday's shooting spree at a Mother's Day parade. Two of those suspects, brothers, face 20 counts of attempted murder after 20 people were injured. The shooting galvanized residents of a city with one of the world's higher murder rates. Keith O'Brien has the story.

KEITH O'BRIEN, BYLINE: Residents at the intersection of Frenchman and North Villere Streets were thrilled to see it yesterday morning, a produce truck selling fruits and vegetables, door to door.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I have pineapples. I have strawberries.

O'BRIEN: It was yet another sign life was returning to normal at the sight of last Sunday's second line parade shoot and resident Chico Horn greeted the rolling truck with a smile.

CHICO HORN: This is New Orleans. Our fruit on wheels.

O'BRIEN: But even with the alleged shooters in custody, few are moving on. None of the 20 people died, but three remain in critical condition. Bernadette Tyler has only just finished cleaning the blood off her porch where two of the wounded fell. The trick, she says, was bleach and water.

BERNADETTE TYLER: Every time you walk down to the corner you can see where just about where everybody got shot at 'cause blood is all on North Villere Street, all in the streets.

O'BRIEN: Then again, spilled blood it just a part of life in the 7th Ward neighborhood. Brenda Van Pran sees it all the time.

BRENDA VAN PRAN: I've had my house shot into. I've had my refrigerator shot into. It has a big hole in the refrigerator. My car has bullet holes in it. My kitchen window has bullets holes in here. My house has just been a target of all the shooting that's going on. And I'm lucky I'm not dead. I really am.

O'BRIEN: Van Pran is 60. She lives one block from the Mother's Day shooting. Far enough away to be safe last Sunday, but not every day. The most recent bullet sliced through her house just a few weeks ago.

VAN PRAN: We found a slug in there on the kitchen floor. My sink is right here for washing dishes. It could've been me laying down there. It's just terrible. It really is.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: So we're going to have the march from the mayor, the chief and then the DA.

O'BRIEN: Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other top city officials gathered yesterday at the site of the shooting to comfort residents like Van Pran with a show of force. armored vehicles, squad cars, and a vow to change.

MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU: We all came back here to make it clear that the culture of death and violence on the streets of New Orleans is unnatural, it's unacceptable and the people of New Orleans have had enough.

O'BRIEN: Landrieu touted not only these arrests, but recent work that lead to indictments against other alleged gang members. Residents aren't convinced this crackdown will lead to real change. They've heard promises before and violent crime remains a daily problem. What's clear is this, the Mother's Day parade will reconvene, marching again in two weeks to the same exact spot.

Organizers are expecting hundreds of people, but not everyone will be there. Seven blocks from the intersection yesterday, the newly formed Young Prospect Brass Band was warming up. The band leaders is trumpeter Dante Dray. He's just 16 and loves second line parades as much as anyone. He was even out there last Sunday, but he isn't so sure he'd go again.

DANTE DRAY: A second line used to be something for people to go out and enjoy and have fun. It's a tradition. But nowadays it's like something you go out there and you might not come back.

O'BRIEN: Still, Dre says, there's something about a second line, the crowds, the music, the people celebrating life in the street, dancing no matter what. It's what New Orleans is about. And if the Young Prospect Brass Band got the chance to play a second line parade, Dre admits it'd be hard to turn it down. For NPR News, I'm Keith O'Brien in New Orleans.

INSKEEP: You hear coverage of the headlines and the stories beyond them, on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Keith O'Brien
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