NEW ORLEANS – If the freezing weather will not keep crowds out of the French Quarter, the cops say they will.
New Orleans’ new restrictions are intended to limit large gatherings.
In a matter of minutes Friday night, police cleared out the most famous street for Mardi Gras – Bourbon Street.
Bars are shuttered, no to-go drinks and no vehicle or pedestrian traffic.
“There’s a presence here more so to intimidate more than anything and deter,” said Mary Helesby from Indiana.
NOPD has dozens of barricades lined throughout the French Quarter and while the streets are closed, they will move the barricades if you are going to a hotel or restaurant.
Angela Sully from Colorado said, “I mean we told them where we needed to go and they were friendly enough to let us through so we can get to our hotel.”
NOPD, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and Louisiana State Police are working together to ensure COVID-19 restrictions are followed.
“With these additional resources that we have, we will be able to flex not just through the French Quarter but throughout this entire city wherever there may be a large gathering,” said Superintendent of Police Shaun Ferguson.
While the biggest party is cancelled, visitors are finding ways to let the good times roll.
“We realized how to circumvent the whole situation,” said Helesby. “Essentially go to restaurants, eat and have cocktails. Maybe there will be a few places that have music.”
Some are making their first Mardi Gras probably the most memorable one by visiting during a pandemic.
“We had a lot of fun earlier,” Sully said. “People were cheering and having a great time. We did not like that we could not get a six pack of beer for later were a little surprising. Overall, it’s a good experience with the kids.”
The restrictions are in place through 3:00 Ash Wednesday morning.