A New Orleans Day

Early last November, in New Orleans’s Upper 9th Ward, a woman in her 50s wandered through the morning sunshine in an oversized t-shirt and pyjama bottoms. She stumbled across Bunny Friend Park, past an empty flask of Hennessey, yellow police tape and a bloodstained playground — the remains of a crime scene from the previous night when an impromptu party ended in a shootout. There were 17 victims; miraculously none died. The woman wouldn’t give her real name, only a moniker — TeeWee — because she said if the shooters knew she talked to the media, they’d think “that lady’s a snitch.” She said she was afraid of the repercussions: “I got 11 kids, and I want to live to see em.” She’d been looking for a grandchild when she wandered over to the event the night before. She saw a DJ and people dancing — and then suddenly “they were shooting everywhere.” She heard multiple gunshots, including one she thought was from an AK47. One of the victims fell on top of her.

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