Much of Bourbon Street will be closed to all traffic, with no vehicles allowed even to cross it, and some law enforcement officers will be in tactical gear during New Year’s Eve and Sugar Bowl festivities over the upcoming weekend, city officials and law enforcement leaders said Tuesday.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said security measures will be increased throughout the French Quarter and “other sensitive targets” in the city ahead of the two major events.
On Bourbon Street, all intersections will be blocked from Iberville Street to St. Ann Street to prevent vehicles from accessing the street.
Speaking at a news conference, Landrieu said this would be done in light of recent terrorist attacks in Germany and France, where vehicles drove into large crowds, resulting in dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries.
All eight New Orleans Police Department districts will be fully staffed during the events, and the State Police will double the number of troopers in the French Quarter.
NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said some officers will be in tactical gear “to make sure that we are prepared to deter any terrorist” threat.
“The message is very, very clear: Do not bring any weapons to the French Quarter,” Harrison said at the news conference.
There have been a number of shootings on Bourbon Street in recent years, including a two-man gun battle early Nov. 27 in the 100 block that killed a young Baton Rouge artist and wounded nine other people on a street packed with revelers.
Landrieu said there will be a “robust complement of security cameras” in the French Quarter during the weekend festivities, as well as 25 to 30 light towers, law enforcement sky towers and K-9 units on the streets.
The increased security measures will be in place through the Allstate Sugar Bowl, which will be played Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
On New Year’s Eve, which is Saturday night, Jackson Square will be the backdrop for part of the national telecast of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” which will be broadcast live from New Orleans after the ball has dropped in Times Square.