I love historic cities and towns. My husband and I visited New Orleans recently for a long weekend, and loved strolling through the narrow streets of the French Quarter, admiring the beauty of its architecture, and imagining all the days gone by.
We also, of course, witnessed its vibrant nightlife, with revelers on the streets until the wee hours of our Saturday night, talking, laughing, dancing, and celebrating. To our surprise on Sunday, we received a text from a family member asking if we were okay and that there had been a shooting in New Orleans. We were shocked, sitting on the streetcar admiring the Garden District at the time, with no knowledge of any such events. But we soon learned it had happened the previous night not far from where we stayed. It was around 2 AM outside a bar on Bourbon Street where two young men had an altercation and began shooting at one one another. Ten people were wounded, and the two gunmen fled. One of them has since been identified and extradited back to Louisiana from Mississippi. He is only 20 years old. One of the ten victims died after several days in the hospital. She was a 21 year old nursing student.
Wow. There are so many consequences of alcohol and drug abuse, but this kind of violence is the most serious. I don't know the details of the evening leading up to shooting or whether the shooters were intoxicated at the time of the incident, but the proximity to a bar is definitely suggestive, yes? I suppose every beautiful place has its not-so-beautiful moments, but this was a real does of reality during an otherwise escapist trip to New Orleans.
Research does suggest that youth who use illicit drugs or alcohol are more likely to become violent. What do you think about the connection between substance abuse and violence? When does partying go too far? I'd love to hear your feedback.
Kambria Kennedy-Dominguez, Counselor and yoga teacher specializing in mental health, substance abuse and wellness.