NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – A group that calls itself the French Quarter Minutemen is beginning to spread its message throughout the French Quarter.
Tuesday afternoon, the group’s founder, Aaron Jordan, began passing out flyers to people to inform them about the group’s mission and phone number.
“All you have to do is call it up and we will have one or two of our armed guards come out to wherever you work and escort you back to your car, your bus stop, or your streetcar stop,” Jordan told WGNO News.
Jordan said some of the volunteers would choose to conceal carry their weapons while others might open carry them where they could be easily seen.
The group is also working to calm any concerns that it would actually patrol the quarter looking for criminals. Jordan says he and his volunteers only plan to walk workers to safety after their shifts.
As he passed out the flyers, he received mostly positive feedback.
“I’m interested because I’m a female and I’m by myself,” one worker said.
“Waiters or bellmen have money on them,” a man said, referring to the need for security at the end of a shift.
Jordan said New Orleans police requested a meeting with him to discuss his group’s plans. The NOPD did not respond to WGNO’s request for a comment on the Minutemen proposal.
One French Quarter attorney, David Oestreicher, also attended the meeting. He likes the idea of having safety escorts for workers but he prefers the volunteers carry radios or other communications devices rather than guns.
“So perhaps the group that volunteers would be carrying a communications device as opposed to a weapon,” he told WGNO News.
Some gun rights or safety advocates also like the group’s plan. But at least one told WGNO News that any volunteers should be ready to face a list of perhaps unforeseen issues.
“I certainly applaud where their heart’s at,” said Brannon Lebouef. “I think they’re trying to do the right thing for the right reasons.”
Lebouef owns the recently opened St Bernard Indoor Shooting Center. He also operates a firearms training company called Nolatac.
Lebouef says any volunteers who open carry their weapons would have to obey greater restrictions on how close they could get to schools and some churches in the French Quarter. He also worries that an area known for partying could mean extra conflict for anyone seen carrying a gun.
“It’s also filled with a lot of people who are probably intoxicated to some degree,” he said.
Jordan is organizing his group on Facebook. He hopes to call its first meeting later this month.