Saturday, 17 June 2017


Brittany Seymour, 22, was fatally stabbed early Thursday (June 15) in the French Quarter.
Brittany Seymour turned 22 last week. Joined by her sister and a friend, the New Orleans native decided to celebrate her birthday at a show Wednesday night (June 14) inside the House of Blues in the French Quarter.

A few short hours later, she lay dying on the Decatur Street pavement, mortally wounded in a fight with a woman Seymour's sister identified as their cousin.

The two women had been in a long-simmering feud centered around Seymour's ex-boyfriend, said her sister, Bria Seymour. But the sisters were not aware their cousin would be at the same event.

"We were getting ready to leave and somehow those two got to each other and started fighting," an emotional Bria Seymour said by phone Thursday. "And in the midst of it my sister was stabbed two times."

New Orleans police confirmed that detectives have received an arrest warrant for Dannisha Green, the woman Bria Seymour identified as their cousin. She was not in custody as of Thursday afternoon.

Brittany Seymour grew up in the Uptown area and attended St. Mary's Academy in New Orleans East, her sister said. She was quiet, Bria Seymour recalled, a voracious reader who excelled in school and was taking classes at Delgado Community College to become a registered nurse.

"She was just a loving person," Bria Seymour said.

Bria Seymour said her sister wasn't one for parties, but she chose Wednesday's show at the House of Blues because their work schedules kept them from celebrating her birthday on the actual day.

"She wanted us to do something fun because we didn't have a chance to do anything for her birthday," Bria Seymour said.

The sisters, and Seymour's friend, left the club about 1 a.m. Thursday. Outside, Seymour and her cousin started to argue, surrounded by her cousin's friends and a growing number of curious onlookers.

Among that group was Sean, a 23-year-old photographer who, citing privacy concerns, declined to give his last name. Sean was taking photographs at the House of Blues show, he said, and stepped outside to switch camera lenses when he saw an argument near Decatur and Bienville streets. He said he was preparing to record the argument when two women started grabbing each other's hair and swinging.

The fight was quick, Sean remembered, too fast for him to record it. He remembered hearing a noise, something distinct but indescribable, followed by audible gasps from the crowd.

Someone said aloud, "who's bleeding?" Sean recalled. Then one of the two women fell to the ground. His camera now recording, Sean watched as blood streamed from the wounded woman's side. A friend tried desperately to apply pressure.

"I've never witnessed anyone dying before my eyes," Sean said, his voice breaking.

Sean said he remembered seeing two New Orleans police vehicles - one belonging to the French Quarter Task Force - just down the street from where the fight took place. But he couldn't remember seeing their blue lights flashing until after the woman was stabbed.

New Orleans Police Department spokesman Beau Tidwell said he could not say where officers were prior to the stabbing. He said police were called at 1:17 a.m. to investigate a fight, and officers arrived six minutes later.

Video taken by Sean and viewed by The Times-Picayune shows three New Orleans police officers walking up to Seymour's body. A woman identified by Bria Seymour as her sister's friend is seen applying pressure to Seymour's wound. The officers are seen in the video standing over Seymour's body, speaking into radios and asking bystanders for information.

"They just sat there on their radios and walked around the girl as if they were going to find something other than blood and blood and more blood," Sean said.

Tidwell said police officers "are trained in basic first aid, but for more extensive injuries we rely on our partners at EMS and NOFD."

Roughly four minutes pass between the time the video begins and the time New Orleans firefighters are seen arriving to render aid to Seymour. Fire department spokesman Capt. Edwin Holmes said firefighters at the department's headquarters, located steps from where Seymour was stabbed, showed up about a minute after they were alerted to the stabbing by a Louisiana State Police trooper who rang the station's doorbell.

Seymour was taken to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

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