Facebook plea to help shooting victim Amy Matthews

A Perth woman shot in the face in New Orleans is trying to raise $135,000 for reconstructive surgery after her travel insurance failed to cover the entire cost.

Amy Matthews, a 21-year-old University of WA graduate from Mt Hawthorn was celebrating the end of her studies with her best friend from Stirling when she was caught in the middle of a shootout in July in which 9 other people were injured, one of whom died.

A Facebook page has been set up, Repair Amy's Smile, in a bid to raise the money.

Ms Matthews posted on the page on August 28: "Hi everybody, good news today I am one step closer to teeth! In a couple of hours I will be undergoing surgery to repair my smile! I would like to thank everyone for your continued support :)"

Surgeons in Perth and New Orleans offered to work for free.

Several New Orleans people also posted comments of support, saying they were shocked by the shooting.

Amy has lost all but 10 of her teeth, had to have gums removed, her tongue stitched and a metal plate inserted in her jaw.

Now back in Perth, she told the latest edition of New Idea she never felt in danger until she heard the shots.

Amy Matthews at her graduation.

Her mouth was filling up with blood and several teeth fell out.

Two off-duty soldiers noticed she was severely injured and rushed to help her.

"It was only when they started talking about entry and exit wounds I realised I'd been shot," Amy told New Idea.

"It was pretty scary but I think I was in too much shock to scream."

"It feels so unfair we have to pay for something someone did to me for absolutely no reason.

The street scene after the shooting.

"There's a bit of insurance money but teeth are expensive. I need plastic surgery on my cheek, too."

After completing a bachelor of arts in March with majors in political science and economics, Ms Matthews and a friend had flown to the US for a gap-year holiday.

They had made their way down the east coast from New York City to Nashville, Tennessee, where they hired a car and drove to New Orleans.

It was their third night in the historic French Quarter of the city and by 2.45am, it had stretched into their fourth morning.

They were walking to the next neon-lit bar on Bourbon Street, barely halfway through their US road trip, when the crack of gunshots sent people running for their lives.

At some point in the chaos a partial or whole bullet entered Ms Matthews' mouth through her right cheek and exited through her top lip, causing extensive injuries to her gums, teeth and palate.

At the time, she assumed a flailing hand had struck her in the face but when she stopped running, she realised her mouth was full of blood and loose teeth.

Speaking from her hospital bed at Interim LSU Hospital, Ms Matthews told _The West Australian _ at the time that that she felt lucky to be alive.

"I have about 10 teeth left," she said. "It shattered the top of my palate in four places and ripped my tongue in several places.

"Because the bullet was so hot, it just ripped through my teeth and burnt a lot of my gums. They had to remove a lot of dead gum.

"I think I'm very lucky because I wasn't the only person who got shot that night.

"There were two people who were critical and they think one of them is going to die.

"I can replace my teeth and my mouth will heal but if it had have been a few centimetres towards my brain or my jugular, who knows?"

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