TSA confiscates more than usual after Mardi Gras

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KENNER, La. (WGNO) - While Thanksgiving and Christmas are among the biggest travel days at Louis Armstrong International, the day after Mardi Gras is especially busy for another reason -- confiscated items.

“We want to remind travelers do not bring any of these items to the checkpoint,” says Sari Koshetz with the Transportation Security Administration.

Koshetz is conducting her press conference while hovering over a large table with all the forbidden items confiscated the day after Mardi Gras.

Real or fake, when an explosive looking device like a toy hand grenade is found, it sets off a whole chain reaction of safety measures, “We have to evacuate the baggage room which means a whole bunch of bags might not make that flight," Koshetz says.

TSA inspectors are primarily looking for anything that can take down a plane.

“There are stun guns,” says Koshetz. “This tool could turn into a bludgeon. Sporting equipment that could also be a bludgeon. We do not want anyone with a bludgeon inside the aircraft."

Any given Wednesday the TSA at Louis Armstrong typically confiscates about 13,000 items.

Koshetz says this Wednesday that number jumped to 21,000, including guns and knives of all shapes and forms, “Some are very dangerous looking and you don't want the person in the seat next to you having that knife in their possession. It’s very surprising that people are still bringing these items to the security checkpoint this many years after 9/11."

The most common excuse from travelers for packing something like a gun is they forgot to unpack the same bag from a previous trip.

“Really pay attention to what's in your bag,” advises Koshetz. “Start from scratch. Clean out that bag. Look inside the lining. Empty the bag and start over."

But many items are simply just left at the security checkpoint.

“Baby strollers. It's like if you came to the checkpoint with those items, sometimes it's hard to believe that the person left without those items because some of them were pretty critical. There's medicine."

The TSA also oversees the airport lost and found.

“Call our lost and found and our officers will try to connect you with the items that you have forgotten at the checkpoint."