New Orleans detectives are seeking surveillance video to help solve the mystery of who shot two Australian tourists in an alleged drug deal gone wrong.

The Australians, students from Curtin University's Western Australia School of Mines, remain in a New Orleans hospital in a stable condition.

New Orleans police spokesman Dave Badie told AAP the men, aged 21 and 23, had been in New Orleans' popular French Quarter at about 4am on Wednesday before deciding to buy drugs across the Mississippi River in the residential suburb of Algiers.

"Based on the initial investigation, they were in the French Quarter and caught a cab to the West Bank to purchase drugs," Badie said.


"They went there to purchase drugs and the two men were shot by an unknown subject."

Detectives are yet to interview the Australians and do not have a description of the shooter.

Badie also said he did not know what type of drugs the Australians were trying to buy.

"We are trying to get surveillance video, but we don't have anything like that," Badie said.

The men had competed in the 38th Intercollegiate Mining Games in Montana as part of a team representing Curtin University's WA School of Mines and had travelled to New Orleans for a private holiday.