Bourbon Street Turns Into Pedestrian Mall New Year's Weekend To Deter ‘Truck-Driving Terrorists’

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Much of Bourbon Street will be pedestrian-only from New Year's Eve through the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl to ensure that truck-driving terrorists cannot get to the crowds, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Tuesday.

         Trucks will block intersections along eight of the street's 13 blocks, he said.

         There are no current credible terror threats in New Orleans or the rest of the state — barring Bourbon Street to vehicles and other security measures are precautions, said Jeffrey Sallet, special agent in charge of the FBI's New Orleans office.

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         Landrieu said the city also will bring light towers, security towers and many temporary security cameras into the French Quarter and some other "sensitive areas."

         "When you're walking in the French Quarter … you are in a public area," he said. "You should assume you are on camera."

         Security-consciousness since the Boston Marathon bombing has been heightened by the truck attacks on crowds in Berlin and in Nice, France, he said, and recent shootings in the French Quarter "exacerbated that concern."

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         A shooting on Bourbon Street killed one person and wounded nine the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when the Bayou Classic football game swelled crowds. Police have arrested two men from the Lafayette area, halfway across south Louisiana. The two had a continuing dispute, happened to run across each other and started shooting, police have said.

         City police, state troopers and federal agents will be keeping an eye out for weapons, Landrieu said.

         Every officer in the city will be working all three days, and those in the district that includes the French Quarter will be on 12-hour shifts, Superintendent Michael Harrison said.

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         State police will double the 30 to 35 officers usually posted in the city, said Col. Mike Edmonson, head of the agency. That number can easily be augmented with the 100 officers stationed in the local troop, task forces. "And I can get 300 troopers anywhere in the state within three hours," he said.

         – by AP Reporter Janet McConnaughey



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