Bourbon St. business owners want extra patrols ahead of NOLA Pride Festival
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In the wake of the shooting in Orlando, New Orleans prepares for its own LGBT celebration on Saturday, and many people want extra security and police patrols for this year's Pride Festival in the French Quarter.
"Every time that Bourbon Pride has ever called the New Orleans Police they've been there in a matter of minutes," business owner Joseph Hart said. "So I do feel good about that, but I do think added protection is definitely needed."
Hart and his partner own a retail store on Bourbon Street.
After the mass shooting in Orlando, the couple is concerned how the city will handle Pride. They say harassment already happens daily.
"[People] are not afraid to come in and voice their opinion," Hart said. "We've been spit on. We get the "F" word all the time."
Louisiana State Police say the agency is working closely with federal law enforcement to address any needs for security in the French Quarter this weekend.
"State police has the fusion center in Baton Rouge," according to Trooper Melissa Matey. "That fusion center has been in constant contact with our federal, local and state partners all across the United States to include Orlando. They are following up on any type of information that could lead to anything here in Louisiana."
LSP and New Orleans Police say, at this time, there are no creditable threats to the city. Neither agency plans to increase patrols.
But if anything changes, both agencies say they will too.
"If the need arises that we need to put extra patrols in a certain area, we will do so," Matey said.
New Orleans Police say the security for the event will be handled by off-duty NOPD officers through security details as well as on-duty officers in the 8th District.
While police gather information, businesses are taking security measures into their own hands.
Bourbon Pub and Parade and Oz New Orleans announced both bars will pay for additional security.
"There will be a lot more security involved to make sure that our customers and employees and everyone are safe," Bourbon Pub and Parade manager Toby Lefort said. "A lot of people are worried like, are we going to be safe there? The answer is yeah. We will do everything in our power to make sure that our customers and our staff are safe this weekend and every weekend."
Many bars are not letting anyone with backpacks inside because of the shooting in Orlando.
Also, law enforcement officials urge anyone who sees someone suspicious to use the 'See Something Send Something' app. The information goes straight to the state police fusion center.
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