With the Essence Music Festival set to kick off Thursday and the long July 4 weekend ahead, New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas is reassuring visitors that the French Quarter and downtown areas of the city will be protected.
"We have a very robust plan and package," he said. "On Thursday, the family day, there will be 170 officers in and around where the Essence Festival activities will occur. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there will be 500 police officers from the New Orleans Police Department assigned to the downtown Quarter."
Serpas said officers will also be working at the Superdome and the convention center. After the fest ends and people head out on Monday, he said another package of 20 to 25 officers will be on duty to make sure Canal Street keeps flowing.
The city is spending $300,000 in overtime on the beefed-up police presence this weekend, Serpas said.