NEW ORLEANS - Three people were shot Saturday night on very crowded Bourbon Street as revelers were partying during Mardi Gras, police said.
Two males and a female were wounded just before 9:30 p.m. local time, New Orleans police spokesman Frank B. Robertson said. One person was in critical condition and the other two were in stable condition. He did not release their ages.
Robertson said detectives were working vigorously to identify a suspect and determine a motive. He did not have any other details.
The streets were crawling with bar-hopping partiers taking in the last weekend before Fat Tuesday. The iconic French Quarter street is home to strip clubs and watering holes, and people toss beads from second-floor balconies. The street gets so jam-packed officers have to control the crowds on horseback.
"We don't know what happened but they shut down the entire block for an hour," Peter Manabani, an employee at the Rat's Hole bar, said as loud music thumped in the background. He said the block later reopened.
Patrick Clay, 21, an LSU student, told The Times-Picayune he was standing on the corner of Bourbon Street when suddenly he saw a crowd running and heard people screaming that there was a shooting.
"Everyone immediately started running and the cops immediately started running towards where people were running from," Clay said. "I was with a group of about seven people and at that point we all just kind of grasped hands and made our way through the crowd as soon as possible."
Parades were rolling all day Saturday but none on Bourbon Street because the streets are too narrow. One of the biggest Mardi Gras parades, the Krewe of Endymion, rolled down Canal Street and just skirted Bourbon Street a few hours before the shooting. Typically, once the parades end, partygoers head to the French Quarter.