“You see a gun and you don’t think anymore,” Arden Radosevic said Tuesday, while sitting on a bar stool at Buffa’s Lounge next to his 3-year-old pitbull mix Sheena. “Time stands still. It was only 30 seconds, but it felt like five minutes. You just want to get through it.”
Radosevic was tending bar Monday night at Buffa’s, a popular bar and restaurant on the edge of the French Quarter, when two masked gunmen stormed in, emptied the cash register and frightened patrons and employees.
The robbery happened about 9:45 p.m.
Radosevic said there were only six people in the bar in the 1000 block of Esplanade Avenue, one of whom was passed out, when the two men entered.
“One of them screamed, ‘Get down,’ ” he said of the gunmen, “then he put a gun to one of the patrons’ heads.”
After robbing the man of his wallet, the gunman pushed his way behind the bar, forcing Radosevic to empty the cash register of about $1,200.
Radosevic said he still had the jitters from the brazen robbery, which occurred on the eve of a rally in the French Quarter against violence.
He said he’d be attending the rally and acknowledged he feels unsafe near the French Quarter.
Employee Mia Martinez, 41, said she poked her head through the kitchen door to see what was causing the commotion and was shocked to see a man pointing a gun in her direction.
She and other workers and patrons immediately scattered.
“It’s scary and it happened so fast,” she said. “I’m still in shock.”
Martinez said she took a cab home Monday night instead of her usual bike ride because she was still shaken from the incident.
Jarret Rogers, co-owner of Buffa’s, said this was the first time the bar had been robbed in the five years he’s owned it.
He said Buffa’s has eight security cameras and the robbery was captured on surveillance.
“I’m just thankful that nobody got hurt,” he said. “I count my blessings considering what could have happened and didn’t.”
Rogers said he feels there’s been a noticeable uptick in crime in the French Quarter.
He said he planned to be at work in the kitchen Tuesday night.