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NOLA tourism pays LSP $2.5 million for added patrols

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BATON ROUGE - Ahead of a busy tourism season, city leaders in New Orleans are dolling out cash for extra protection.

The tourism industry is paying state police $2.5 million to stick around long after the last beads fall.

Superintendent Mike Edmonson says troopers are carefully selected from around the state to ensure no area is left unprotected. He's deployed 150 troopers to help during Mardi Gras and says a few dozen will continue to patrol through May. He says the added patrols are needed because of a spike in crime rates and an under-staffed police department.

"All the eyes of the world are on New Orleans, that's just the way it is," Col. Edmonson said. "Does Mardi Gras exist everywhere else? Absolutely. But when people think Mardi Gras they think New Orleans so we're going to work with them and do everything we can, but also be mindful of everywhere else in the state."

The New Orleans Tourism industry is footing the bill, helping pay for overtime, food and housing.

"To be able to have the resources where you can keep them there," Col. Edmonson said. "You can pay them additional dollars if you need them, and you don't have to send them home right after their shift allows me to do more in that area."

Superintendent Edmonson says only a handful of troopers will be asked to stay from Troop A.

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