NEW ORLEANS – The Big Easy’s ongoing crime wave has spooked regulars at a local creperie as inflation eats away at the decades-old restaurant’s profits. The one-two punch left a co-owner worried that her business would collapse.
“We’re going through a really tough time right now,” Mary Murdock, co-owner of Betsy’s Pancake House, told Fox News. “It’s a day-to-day thing where you have to make so much money to pay their bills, and if you don’t, you’re in trouble.”
THE NEW ORLEANS COMPANY IS FIGHTING TO KEEP CUSTOMERS AMID FEARS LINKED TO GROWING CRIME IN THE CITY. SHOW:
WATCH MORE FOX NEWS DIGITAL ORIGINALS HERE
New Orleans has been grappling with an increase in violent crime since 2019, with carjackings and homicides more than doubling over the three-year period, according to the City Council’s Crime Dashboard. New Orleans. Inflation is also a recurring issue for some business owners, with food prices up 11.3% from January of last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“We’ve lost a lot of repeat customers,” Murdock said. “They won’t come to town.”
Murdock said out-of-town customers wrote on Facebook that they had stopped going to restaurants because they were afraid of New Orleans crime. The restaurant’s co-owner attributed the violence to more anger and access to guns among the city’s youth.
“When we were kids, if you had a fight with someone…the next day, you were friends again,” Murdock said. “But it’s not like that anymore because now they bring weapons.”
And Murdock, a New Orleans native, is no stranger to violence. She took over the restaurant in 2008 after her mother, Elizabeth “Betsy” McDaniel, was beaten in a burglary. McDaniel died of her injuries two days after the attack.
NEW ORLEANS RESIDENTS WARN ‘DON’T SIT IN YOUR CAR’ AS CARJACKINGS RISE A SHOCKING 165%
“She was my best friend,” Murdock said as her eyes filled with tears. “She wants me here.
Murdock said people suggested she move to avoid the city’s surge in crime, but she refused.
“Here you can feel my mother’s spirit,” Murdock said. “She wouldn’t be anywhere else.”
NEW ORLEANS PASTOR FIGHTS TO SAVE ‘CAPITAL FROM MURDER’ SIX MONTHS AFTER HIS SON CUT JUST BLOCKS FROM CHURCH
Murdock responded to employee concerns about rising crime in the city. Some of his staff worried about arriving early while it was still dark, so Murdock allowed them to work later. Some employees come in groups to avoid walking alone.
“You have to watch out for each other,” Murdock said. She added that her employees generally felt safe in the neighborhood but remained vigilant.
New Orleans briefly won the title of the nation’s murder capital in September after recording the highest number of homicides per capita among major US cities. Jackson, Mississippi, toppled The Big Easy, but still recorded 266 homicides in 2022.
In January, three people were shot and killed in Mid-City, a few blocks from Betsy’s. Some customers have asked about security on the premises, Murdock said.
“We couldn’t afford a security guard,” Murdock said. “You would have to raise prices to do that.”
BIDEN PAINTS A PINK PICTURE OF INFLATION BUT PRESSURE ON CUSTOMERS AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS CONTINUES
“And when you raise the prices, it’s harder for people to come in,” Murdock continued. She said the restaurant had already raised prices due to high inflation.
Headline inflation rose 6.4% year-on-year in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The price of eggs has gone up 70% on an annual basis.
“The price of eggs is outrageous,” Murdock said. “We are going through a really difficult time.”
A New Orleans business owner told a local Fox affiliate in October that he no longer wanted to live in the city due to constant break-ins and rising rent for his restaurant. But Murdock said she was determined to keep Betsy afloat.
“We scrape all the way to the bottom,” Murdock said. “Waste nothing.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Murdock plans to open the restaurant on Sundays and close on Wednesdays to address profitability concerns.
“You have to restructure,” Murdock said. “You have to think differently. Anyway.”
For more from Murdock about his company’s struggles with crime and high prices, click here.
Hannah Ray Lambert and Ramiro Vargas contributed the accompanying video.