New Orleans officials talk weather, traffic and security ahead of national championship
NEW ORLEANS - The City of New Orleans is bracing for the national championship along with potential severe weather this weekend.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell addressed the media Friday alongside state and federal partners, as the countdown to Monday's kickoff inched closer.
"Starting on Saturday, we know that events will be hosted throughout not only the French Quarter, the CBD and absolutely the convention center,” Cantrell said.
Officials are urging people traveling to New Orleans to arrive early and prepare for major traffic delays from Saturday to Monday.
"New Orleans Police Department officers will be deploying traffic control on Saturday and Sunday on Canal Street to help guests check into their hotels,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said.
There will be intermittent road closures all around the city, especially in the French Quarter. From 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., Saturday through Monday, there will be limited vehicle access to the French Quarter.
Additionally, most cross streets of Bourbon Street will also be closed during those times.
"This is to deter and to prevent any vehicles from crossing Bourbon Street throughout this weekend,” Ferguson said.
Additional NOPD officers will work extended shifts the next few days and will be stationed all over New Orleans. Those officers will also have assistance from 130 Louisiana State troopers.
"They will be divided out between uniform patrol, plainclothes personnel working undercover operations emphasizing the location of illegal weapons,” State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves said.
All eyes are also focused on the skies with the threat of severe weather, specifically during Saturday. The city said all 99 of their drainage pumps are working ahead of the expected bad weather.
"We’re expecting two to four inches of rain, again in the collapsed period from 10 a.m. to noon [on Saturday]," Cantrell said.
The city will be overwhelmed with Tiger fans from both universities come rain or shine on Monday.
"This is essentially a home game for LSU. You should anticipate hundreds of thousands of people coming that maybe don't even have a ticket to the game,” Director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Collin Arnold said.
There has also been extra federal funds allocated for security due to the possibility of President Trump attending the game.