There is a simple but stark warning to the residents of New Orleans’ 7th Ward spray-painted in red on a house near where 19 people were shot in a hail of bullets last Mother’s Dau: “Shut the f*** up!!!” The New Orleans Times-Picayune says many people in the area, painfully aware of the crime and gang activity in the neighborhood, seemed to heed the advice, keeping quiet on the one-year anniversary of the tragic event. A handful of residents speak out to defend passionately a community they say has been neglected for too long.
The differing reactions to the threat of retaliation shows a neighborhood that remains in flux since the mass shooting that took place May 12, 2013 during an annual parade. Akein and Shawn Scott are accused of opening fire into the second-line parade of hundreds as they tried to gun down a rival gang member. The brothers wounded 19 people including two 10-year-old children. Another person was trampled as the crowd sought to flee the gunfire. While residents say in the year since the mass shooting, the area, home to 1,600 people, has experienced significant change, it also suffers from continued stagnation. The shooting was the impetus for community members to form their first association, the South 7th Ward Neighbors, giving them a united voice for the first time. Still, one resident says, “It was horrifying. It was also insulting and enraged me that it takes 19 people to get shot for the city to pay attention to the 7th Ward. They don’t care about this neighborhood. They never have.”