Security stepped up at New Orleans venues after Manchester terror attack

Security stepped up at New Orleans venues after Manchester terror attack

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There is no credible terror threat in New Orleans right now, according to the city's director of homeland security. But there will be changes to security measures for big events starting Tuesday night.

Walk into any major sporting event or concert and you'll see metal detectors, wands, a lot of security. But on the way out - there's not so much of a police presence.

"The police are there, we are controlling more of the traffic egress than what transpired in Manchester," said UNO Lakefront Arena General Manager Marco Perez. "That has changed things. That is something that we now have to be more vigilant in."

Perez said starting Tuesday - for Ben Franklin High School's graduation - there will be more police outside.

"Unfortunately, the world is changing quickly and we have to change along with it," Perez said.

Security may be stepped up even more for the Erica Badu concert here on Sunday.

In downtown New Orleans, there's no shortage of events between the Arena, Champions Square and the Superdome. But for each new event there's a new meeting and a new security plan in place.

This weekend the Bayou Country Superfest will fill the dome. Tuesday night Train is performing in Champion's Square. Each event has a different crowd with different security needs. But former FBI agent and Tulane professor James Bernazanni said continually adding officers may not be the answer.

"You can only have so much physical security," he said. "You can only expand so far away, so far away from the venue, and so the intelligence is key. And if the intelligence is robust, it's going to drive a successful operation."

New Orleans Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Aaron Miller said the city is in constant contact with its federal partners to keep events safe. But ultimately, the concert-goers and fans might be the biggest deterrent to terror.

"Having citizens who are alert, having residents and concert-goers who are alert to suspicious activity, having additional public safety on that perimeter just to prevent, detect, deter, look for signs of suspicious activity," he said.

Bottom line: Miller said if you see something, say something.

The attack in Manchester happened in an arena managed by SMG, the same group that manages the Smoothie King Center, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Champion's Square. SMG released a statement saying they don't have all the facts yet, but they know the attack occurred outside their arena. They said they "will continue to work - as always - with law enforcement officials to ensure the safety and security of our guests, both inside and outside of our facility."

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