Bourbon Street businesses agree to pay for extra security

French Quarter business owners will pick up the bill for added security on Bourbon Street after debating plans to add extra security on parts of Bourbon, Royal and Chartres.

Each of the 58 merchants in the French Quarter Business League voted to tax themselves up to or more than $200 per week to pay for three to four additional off-duty New Orleans police officers to patrol a section of Bourbon each night when Louisiana state troopers leave at the end of the month.

The businesses will be paying a total of $10,550 a week, though the breakdown of the payments hasn't been completely worked out. It will pay for 213 extra hours of security plus insurance.

The business league's Chris Young said it's an investment to make sure Bourbon Street remains famous - not infamous.

"This group was very deliberate about this decision," Young said. "It took them a few weeks to make after doing a lot of research, investigating, asking a lot of questions. But the reason it's unanimous is because obviously they have businesses here, they want to protect their customers, they want to protect their employees, and they want the public to know that the French Quarter and Bourbon Street are safe."

Young said the 50 state troopers that are scheduled to be here until Labor Day have made a big difference in terms of law enforcement presence, and today they formally asked State Police Col. Mike Edmonson to have those state troopers stay longer. But this security plan, he said, will be necessary for something more permanent.

"We look at it this way -- that's a lot of money, but if we don't do it, it could cost a lot more in lost business. So, we felt like we had no other choice," said Tropical Isle Co-Owner Earl Bernhardt.

The league will test the new security plan for six months and then re-evaluate it.

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