NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A short but meaningful march from Loyola Avenue to New Orleans City Hall Wednesday afternoon sent a powerful message.

It was a walk for domestic violence awareness and in the crowd was Patricia Cortez, who knows all too well what that kind of abuse can lead to.

“He was on the porch sitting down, and she just came up to him: ‘If you leave me, I’m going to shoot you,’ and it just happened repeatedly. She was saying, ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ and all the sudden, she shot him,” said Cortez.

Cortez lost her son Lorenzo last December, just weeks before his 28th birthday. She says he was shot dead by his girlfriend, who was also the mother of his infant daughter, Italy. Cortez believes her son never reported the abuse because he feared what could happen to his child.

“I think he was scared to say something because of his daughter of him might being in fear about what she would do to the daughter,” said Cortez.

Cortez was one of 12 family members who stood outside of city hall with candles in hand.
Those 12 family members representing the 12 people killed in domestic violence incidents in orleans parish over the last year.

“What it is is an epidemic here. Since covid, we have seen an increase and rise of cases, we have seen more lethal cases coming before us than what we’ve ever seen before,” said Sharon Henry, Community Outreach Director for New Orleans Family Justice Center.

Families of these victims are urging everyone to watch out for signs of domestic violence before tragedy comes knocking on your door.

“I do blame myself for not being there because I saw the signs and I do blame myself that I wasn’t there to protect him,” said Cortez.