Closing Bourbon Street to Cars And More—$40 Million Citywide Public Safety Improvements Focus On French Quarter

City of New Orleans
File - Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell and local public safety leaders officials announced the opening of the Real Time Crime Monitoring Center at 517 N. Rampart St. on Nov. 21, 2017.

NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu released the $40 million citywide public safety improvement plan that focuses specifically on improving safety in the French Quarter.

The most significant change is that plans are being made to close Bourbon Street off to vehicular traffic.

“Following the attacks in Nice, France, it has become clear how popular tourist areas can be threatened by attackers with vehicles and weapons,” the city’s public safety improvement plan report states. “Before implementing this initiative, The City will undertake a comprehensive traffic study of the French Quarter and use the study’s findings to create a management schedule to reduce conflicts between delivery vehicles, hotel and tour vehicles, sanitation vehicles, and pedestrian uses so that all streets can be used more efficiently and safely.”

Once complete, Bourbon Street will be closed off to vehicular traffic via moving bollards—round-poles—which can be lowered for emergency vehicles.

The City will install bollard systems in 20 intersections within the 100-800 blocks of Bourbon Street. The bollards can be remotely operated for emergency vehicles and can be opened during standardized delivery times.

According to the report, the city plans to enhance the lighting on Bourbon Street and throughout the French Quarter by retrofitting existing lampposts with new brighter LED fixtures.

The New Orleans Police Department will have a new designed officer staffing structure on Bourbon Street to optimize police presence in the eight-block area. Six new K-9 dogs will be added to the department.

The city will add more efforts for graffiti removal in the French Quarter, enhanced lighting onto the pedestrian mall from the oaks in Jackson Square and dedicated staff from French Market Corporation (FMC) security exclusively for Jackson Square patrols and enforcement.

Centralized Command Center Now Open

In November 2017, Landrieu, Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, local public safety leaders, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and City officials announced the opening of the Real Time Crime Monitoring Center at 517 N. Rampart St. The $5 center will monitor new citywide  cameras and license plate readers 24/7 at state-of-the-art facility.

The plan adds integrated camera and surveillance programs in 20 target areas throughout the city and adds a centralized command center staffed by civilians. Areas stretch from New Orleans East to Hollygrove, Gentilly to Behrman on the Westbank.

The Centralized Command Center will monitor feeds from the City cameras throughout each target area and integrate feeds from private camera installations. It will also integrate data streams from social media dashboards, license plate reader technology, and police activity through the 911 dispatch system. The Center will house video technicians who can provide real-time assistance to law enforcement and supply workspace and analytical tools necessary for law enforcement to quickly review video footage.

“With the completion of a real-time Centralized Command Center, officers will be able to proactively focus on suspicious activity, increase their likelihood of an arrest from reasonable suspicion, and immediately receive images of suspects after a crime occurs in an area under surveillance,” the plan report states.

– Jenny Peterson, Associate News Editor, Biz New Orleans