New Orleans Plans Major Expansion of Video Surveillance Resources

Additional security cameras are to be installed in the French Quarter and throughout the city in what the mayor referred to as “hot spots.”

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said this week the city will pursue a massive expansion of the police department’s video surveillance capabilities, in both the French Quarter and 20 “hot spots” around the Big Easy.

The roughly $30 million proposal is part of a security plan drafted after a shooting over Thanksgiving weekend left one dead and nine injured on Bourbon Street.

The New Orleans Advocate reports the 20 sites for more cameras include Hollygrove, Mid-City, Hoffman Triangle, Milan, Central City, St. Thomas, CBD, 7th Ward, St. Roch, St. Claude, Algiers, Behrman, Florida/Desire area, Gentilly Woods, Lower 9th Ward, Pines Village, Little Woods, Chef Highway and East Shore.

Landrieu, joined by Gov. John Bel Edwards, also said during a press conference bars city-wide will be required to close doors and keep patrons inside after 3 a.m. to prevent them from hanging out in the streets. Bourbon Street will also eventually become pedestrian-only, possibly within the next 4-6 months.

The security cameras will be monitored from a central command station. The proposal also calls for ensuring two NOPD or Louisiana State Police officers are stationed in every block of Bourbon Street and that canine units and cameras with heat sensors are used to detect concealed weapons on those entering the area, the newspaper reports.

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Early versions of the plan also called for blocking off much of Bourbon Street to vehicular traffic, a move officials said was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks such as the one in Nice, France, in which 86 people were killed when a truck was driven into a crowd of people during Bastille Day celebrations.

The security plan has been in the works for weeks, though the Landrieu administration has declined to comment on details of the proposal, the newspaper reports.

The city will be picking up about $16 million of the cost of the plan, with the remaining cost paid for by the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The convention center is a state entity with its own taxing power that has come under criticism from the non-partisan Bureau of Governmental Research for maintaining a $200 million reserve, which the group has argued could go toward other more urgent needs in the city, the newspaper reports.

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