The sound of gunfire ripping through Bourbon Street early Sunday morning was shocking – but it was not surprising. Over and over again in the past several years, New Orleanians have fallen victim to mass shootings.

Just on Friday, four people were shot on a street corner in Central City. Two months ago on another street corner in Central City, six people were shot in what is believed to have been an act of gang violence. One of the victims, an innocent bystander who had gone out for a pack of cigarettes, was shot fatally.

A year ago this month, rival gang members firing wildly into a crowd in Bunny Friend Park in the Upper 9th Ward managed to wound 17 people, two seriously. Almost all were simply trying to enjoy a DJ set, according to police.

In June 2014, Bourbon Street was the site of another notorious shooting with eerie echoes to this one. Gunmen firing into a crowd early on a Sunday morning hit 10 people. Surveillance video from the scene showed a panicked crowd rushing for safety. One of the victims, a 21-year-old nursing student from Hammond who was out for a night on the town, was killed.

Trung Le, a 22-year-old man from Belle Chasse who fired the first four shots in that exchange, was convicted of manslaughter and attempted murder in January. Another, unknown shooter who traded fire with Le has never been found.

And on Mother’s Day in 2013, two brothers unleashed a hail of gunfire on crowd enjoying a second-line parade. Nineteen people were shot, none fatally, and one person was trampled in the stampede that followed.

In all of those cases, masses of witnesses did nothing to deter shooters determined to do harm. Civic leaders have proposed everything from metal detectors to surveillance cameras to more police to stem the violence – but nothing has seemed to work.

Bourbon Street in particular is now perennially ringed by police officers, State Police troopers and other law enforcement officials, especially on busy weekends like the Bayou Classic.

But the surveillance cameras trained to every inch of the famous street could not prevent the killing of Brandon Robinson, 26, who was standing outside of a bar during the Bayou Classic weekend last year when he was shot. He was the sole victim in that incident.

Robinson’s sister said shortly after that she had watched the video of her brother’s death.

“I’ve watched it over and over, and every time I’ve watched, it just makes me more angry about the situation. I wanted to see what happened in the last moments of my brother’s life,” Gennifer Robinson said. “I wanted to see: What the hell could have happened?”

Follow Matt Sledge on Twitter, @mgsledge.

msledge@theadvocate.com | (504) 636-7432