NEW ORLEANS—After the storm came the carjackers and burglars. Then came the gun battles and the chemical explosions that shook the restored Victorians in New Orleans’ Algiers Point neighborhood.
“The hurricane was a breeze compared with the crime and terror that followed,” said Gregg Harris, a psychotherapist who lives in the battered area.
Citizens organized armed patrols and checked on the elderly. They slept on their porches with loaded shotguns and bolted awake when intruders stumbled on the aluminum cans they had scattered on the sidewalk.
Gunshots rang out for days, sometimes terrifyingly close.
“Some looters came up and pulled a gun on the wrong group of men,” said Harris, who said he did not fire a gun himself and declined to say who else was involved in the battle.
“Two men were shot right there,” Harris said, pointing down the street as he watered his rose bushes. “One was shot in the back, the other in the leg, and the third I was told made it a block and a half before he died in the street. I did not go down to see the body.”
“For five days we didn’t need FEMA, the Red Cross or the National Guard,” Harris said. “The neighborhood took care of itself.”