New Orleans (WGNO) - It's a lively atmosphere at Katie's in Mid-City, but between grilled oysters and crab cakes, there's a sense of concern.
Diner Phyllis Puglia says the recent robberies are putting a sense of fear in the air.
"I mean it's been about a month now that it's been happening so when you go out to eat you are a little leery and a little more aware of your surroundings,” says Puglia.
Katie’s co-owner Scot Craig says he can’t believe this is happening to the city where he was born and raised.
“I never ever ever thought I'd see the day that we were all fearful just to walk the streets, let alone open your business doors,” says Craig.
So, even though it means pay cuts for him and his business partner, they've hired a police detail, in support of the NOPD, and in order to serve up some peace of mind.
“I'm doing this because I want people to feel comfortable, I want my employees to feel comfortable, heck, I want to be comfortable—and I don t want to be the one that has to shoot somebody,” says Craig.
The hiring of off-duty police officers was one of the topics discussed at Friday afternoon's special meeting of the City Council’s Criminal Justice Committee.
Superintendent Michael Harrison says anyone wishing to work out a contract with the office of police secondary employment is welcome to do so—as long as they are representing an actual restaurant, where the primary service is to serve food.
Outlets where the focus is alcohol, are not allowed to put the off-duty NOPD officers to work.
Craig, and many of his customers, say the added detail work should be an option for any business in the city willing to bear the expense.
For diners and the restaurant community, it's one bold step in the fight against the crime that's threatening the soul of this city.