New Orleans ramping up security as Mardi Gras draws near

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 3:59 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 14, 2022 at 4:20 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After a two-year hiatus, leaders of a multipronged security effort say they are ready for what promises to be a jam-packed Carnival schedule beginning this weekend.

The New Orleans police department will go to 12 hour shifts this Friday as it puts it’s Mardi Gras security plan into place. Louisiana State Police committed 100 troopers to the effort.

“The New Orleans Police Department is prepared and ready for Mardi Gras 2022,” said New Orleans Police Supt. Shaun Ferguson.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell says the police department has 270 vacancies. The Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) says it’s about 600 officers short, and the police chief is instituting special shifts to try and cover the parade routes and secure the city.

The extended shifts will begin Friday at 7 a.m. until Wed., March 2.

LSP says 100 extra troopers will be positioned in New Orleans as well, slightly below its normal Carnival deployment.

“In the past we’ve had up to 160. This is definitely a slight decrease from previous years due to our staffing issues,” said Chavez Cammon with LSP.

EMS has been suffering from manpower shortages but will have an additional 10 ambulances assisting paramedics.

COVID-19 is still a concern and the city’s health director says there will be opportunities for people to try and make sure they are free from the virus.

“We are working with federal and state partners to have a rapid test facility open at MSY,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno.

City health officials urge everyone to get vaccinated or secure a negative COVID test as they strive to keep this Mardi Gras from turning into a super spreader event, as was the case in 2020.

More: New Orleans’ COVID-19 mandates stay at least through Mardi Gras, after state Supreme Court denies restraining order, direct lawsuit hearing

The vaccination and indoor masking mandates instituted by New Orleans city officials will remain in effect at least through Mardi Gras, after the Louisiana Supreme Court denied requests for a temporary restraining order and an expedited hearing on a lawsuit challenging the rules.

The police department is enforcing a smaller no traffic zone in French Quarter. Traditionally they close off the entire quarter. This year, they will close off the area between Royal Street and Dauphine and from Iberville to Saint Ann.

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