French Quarter street performer arrested for allegedly stealing artists’ carts and pushing them into Mississippi River

Landon Semones. Courtesy of NOPD.

A French Quarter street performer who allegedly pushed more than a dozen artist carts into the Mississippi River during the course of several hours in January was arrested Feb. 17 following an investigation by the New Orleans Police.

Landon Semones, 42, was arrested on 11 counts of theft and one count of authorized entry into a business after entering the Jackson Square Artists Yard on Jan. 31 and pushing at least a dozen artists carts into the river, according to New Orleans Police.

New Orleans Police responded to a call of a theft in the 700 block of Decatur Street at 11:25 a.m. on Jan. 31 and spoke to a victim who stored under the breezeway across the street from Jackson Square.

The victim told officers that he stored his cart under the breezeway on Jan. 30 and upon returning at 7 a.m. the next morning, he noticed the security lock on the door had been tampered with, according to New Orleans Police.

When the victim entered the storage area, he noticed that his cart and numerous other carts were missing.

Project NOLA, a nonprofit crime camera network, released a video on Feb. 12 that allegedly shows Semones pushing the carts one by one into the river during the course of several hours.

During the investigation, New Orleans Police identified Semones as a suspect and issued an arrest warrant.

Semones turned himself into the New Orleans Police Department Eighth District station located at 334 Royal Street at 9 a.m. on Feb. 17 and was booked into the Orleans Parish Justice Center.

Semones, who is known to perform as a mime in the French Quarter, is also known by the name “Dade Murphy.”

The Jan. 31 incident disrupted the daily routines of at least a dozen artists — including painters, musicians and other merchants — who cater to tourists in the heavily-trafficked tourist area of Jackson Square.

The alleged thefts of the carts reportedly damaged thousands of dollars of art and supplies, according to Cassie Tarr, who organized a GoFundMe page to raise money for the artists, adding that many of them lost their livelihoods in the incident.

The incident occurred less than a month before Mardi Gras on Feb. 25, during one of the busiest times of the year for artists, street vendors, performers and hospitality industry workers in the French Quarter.

“Many of the carts [belong] to our beloved older members of Jackson Square, folks who have been part of the cultural fabric of the French Quarter for over 40 years,” Tarr wrote on the GoFundMe page.

The GoFundMe page, which was created on Feb. 5, has raised more than $20,000, just short of the $25,000 goal, and will be distributed equally among the 13 artists who lost their carts, Tarr wrote.

Anyone with additional information on this incident is asked to contact NOPD Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080.