New Orleans’ challenge: policing two huge parties
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 14:01
The New Orleans police force is getting help from state and federal authorities as the city hosts an estimated 150,000 Super Bowl fans while preparing for the raucous buildup to Mardi Gras, which also draws thousands to the historic French Quarter and its restaurants, bars and strip clubs.
This week, the parade schedule is on hold while the Super Bowl takes center stage. Mardi Gras preparations resume once Sunday’s game is over, and the parades roll again starting Wednesday.
The city’s police force of 1,200 officers is bolstered this week by more than 200 Louisiana State Police troopers and hundreds of federal authorities from a variety of agencies.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was in town for a Wednesday news conference outlining security precautions, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement scans of cargo shipped to the game site and Coast Guard work to assure maritime safety and security along the Mississippi River. Game day plans will include flight restrictions in the airspace near the Superdome, pat-down searches of ticket holders and the use of dogs to sniff out contraband.
Michael Anderson, head of the FBI’s New Orleans office, said no credible terrorism threats have arisen.
“This week, there is no safer place to be than the city of New Orleans,” added Raymond Parmer, a special agent with ICE.