Four hurt in Mardi Gras shooting
Four people have been shot on a crowded street in New Orleans as revellers partied amid the countdown to Mardi Gras, sending people running.
Two males and two females were wounded on Bourbon Street just before 9.30pm local time, New Orleans police spokesman Frank Robertson told The Associated Press.
He said one male was in a critical condition and was undergoing surgery, while the other three were in stable conditions. He did not release their ages.
Robertson says detectives are trying to identify a suspect and determine a motive for Saturday night's attack.
"They're just piecing together what happened," he added.
The streets were crawling with bar-hopping patrons taking in the last weekend before Fat Tuesday, the enormous party that sweeps New Orleans each year with parades, gaudy floats and costumed merrymakers.
The iconic French Quarter street is home to strip clubs, watering holes and second-floor balconies lined by people who throw beads to revellers below each Mardi Gras season. The street often gets so jam-packed that officers have to control the crowds on horseback.
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 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 rolled all day on 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.