updated 10/31/2006 10:46:18 AM ET 2006-10-31T15:46:18

Five people were wounded by gunfire early Tuesday in a French Quarter bar, the latest violence in a city that has been struggling to rein in crime as it tries to recover from Hurricane Katrina.

Police said a gunman walked into the bar about 12:30 a.m. and opened fire. Three men were hospitalized, one in critical condition, and two women were reported to have suffered graze wounds, said police Sgt. Jeffrey Johnson.

The motive for the shooting wasn’t known, and police were searching for a suspect.

New Orleans has seen a sharp uptick in violent crime as evacuees have returned to the city devastate by Hurricane Katrina. In June, after five teenagers were shot to death in one night, National Guard troops and state police were sent to the city to help police, a mission they will continue through December.

Last month, the French Quarter was a scene of a macabre murder-suicide in which a man chopped up his girlfriend and cooked her head and legs in an apartment above a voodoo temple before leaping to his death.

The city’s homicide count for the year had reached 117 by the weekend. With the population around 230,000, that translates into a homicide rate roughly 10 times the national average.

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