Editor's note: The video above is footage of New Orleans police Supt. Michael Harrison's comments. The video below is of the fight; it includes offensive language.
A video showing a large group of men slugging it out with a group of bouncers on Bourbon Street early Sunday is raising familiar questions about the NOPD’s manpower shortages as Carnival season shifts into high gear.
In a news conference Tuesday, Police Superintendent Michael Harrison acknowledged that it took officers 10 minutes to respond to the scene, where more than a dozen men brawled off and on as onlookers gawked. The incident took place in front of the Bourbon Heat nightclub, in the 700 block of the city’s signature street.
“These things happen,” Harrison told reporters. “We try to get there as fast as we can. Our officers are working on Bourbon Street, but they have all kinds of other duties also, and sometimes citizens call us.”
He said the response time was “part of our staffing issue” and promised that “this weekend, you’re going to see incredible staffing on Bourbon Street, around the French Quarter, on Canal Street like never before.”
The NOPD’s staffing is at its lowest point in years, with fewer than 1,200 officers all told, and fewer than 400 officers generally available to respond to calls for service.
“We don’t deny we have staffing challenges,” Harrison said, adding that he and Mayor Mitch Landrieu have a “comprehensive plan to grow the department.”
Video of the fight is posted on Facebook and has been viewed more than 50,000 times.