Feb 2, 2024 - Mardi Gras

Regional cops bolster New Orleans police presence for Mardi Gras

Orleans Parish Sheiff Susan Hutson speaks at a podium. She is flanked by over a dozen other regional law enforcement officers.

Orleans Parish Sheriff Susan Hutson thanks regional law enforcement officers during a press conference Feb. 1 for lending staff to New Orleans Mardi Gras details. Photo: Chelsea Brasted/Axios

The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office will expand hours for its 8th District-based mobile booking center, and hundreds of regional law enforcement officers will bolster the NOPD's ranks during Mardi Gras for the second year in a row.

Why it matters: Local and state public safety officials this week said all their plans are ready for New Orleans to host the massive community party that has the city temporarily doubling (or more) in size.

What they're saying: "It's New Orleans. It's Mardi Gras," says New Orleans Fire Department Chief Roman Nelson. "We know what you do and why you do it."

  • But doing so safely is a top priority, officials say.

By the numbers: Between 500 and 550 officers, both uniformed and in plainclothes, will be distributed throughout New Orleans' parade routes.

  • That's possible because NOPD will get assistance from 130 Louisiana State Police troopers, plus another 170 officers from 18 regional agencies in a repeat of a partnership that began last year.
  • State Police will also have drones along the routes and in crowded areas, Louisiana State Police Col. Robert Hodges said, but NOPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said the department will not have theirs in use.

Meanwhile: City officials are also planning to crack down on the so-called Krewe of Chad, aka the parade-goers who set up ladders, chairs and other gear ahead of the allowed four-hour pre-parade window.

  • The Department of Parks and Parkways plans to clear the neutral ground in particular on weekday mornings before parades, said department director Michael Karam.

Worth noting: Locals can use the city's parade tracker, RouteWise, to scope out parade routes, track first and last floats, seek help with lost children and spot porta-potties, first aid and recycling centers along the routes.

  • If you haven't already, you can also text MARDIGRAS (all one word) to 77295 to sign up for NOLA Ready's Carnival-related text alerts.
  • Officials also suggested snapping selfies with your group as you arrive at parades so, in case someone gets lost, you have a picture with what everyone is currently wearing.
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