NEW ORLEANS — The NOPD has announced its plan to address traffic concerns and enforcement of city restrictions on large crowds for the upcoming Mardi Gras 2021 weekend, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The NOPD is ready with a plan that we believe – with the cooperation of our citizens and visitors – will help us have a scaled back and safe Mardi Gras”, Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said during a press conference on Friday, February 5 at City Hall. “Everyone has a stake in the response to COVID-19, and we must work together to keep each other safe. Please adhere to the established guidelines and avoid large gatherings.”
This year, the way the city celebrates Mardi Gras is very different in ways that are meant for the betterment of everyone’s health.
To this end, NOPD will continue to enforce the city’s restrictions again large crowd gatherings in the city, including known areas of congregation popular during regular Mardi Gras celebrations.
Beginning on Friday, February 12 and running through 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 16, the following street closures will be in place:
Exterior French Quarter Closure
Between the hours of 7 p.m. and 3 a.m., the New Orleans Police Department will limit vehicle traffic entering the French Quarter to residents, employees, hotel guests, restaurant/retail goers, and taxis/TNCs between the boundaries of Canal Street, North Rampart Street, Dumaine Street and Decatur Street.
Beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, and running through 2 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, the following street closures will be in place:
- Decatur Street: Closure of Decatur Street between Dumaine and Toulouse streets from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. each evening Feb. 12-16, and to 2 a.m. on Feb. 17.
- Bourbon Street: There will be limited access to Bourbon Street between Canal and Dumaine streets from 7 p.m.–3 a.m. each evening Feb. 12-16, and to 2 a.m. Feb. 17. Residents, shop attendees, restaurant patrons and hotel guests staying in hotels along Bourbon Street will be allowed access. However, no loitering will be allowed on Bourbon Street at any time. Additionally, barricades will be in place manned by NOPD officers on nearby Royal and Dauphine streets between Canal and Dumaine streets. Also, marked police units will be stationed at the intersection of Canal and Bourbon streets.
- Frenchmen Street: There will be limited access to the 500-600 blocks of Frenchmen Street from 7 p.m.–3 a.m. Feb. 12-16, and to 2 a.m. Feb. 17. Only residents, shop attendees, restaurant patrons and hotel guests will be allowed access. Manned barricades will be in place.
- Claiborne Avenue: A portion of the interior of the Claiborne Avenue corridor that runs beneath Interstate-10 will be fenced off during this time, ranging from Orleans Avenue to St. Bernard Avenue. No gatherings will be allowed. Traffic will be allowed to travel on Claiborne Avenue during this time.
The Flood Protection Authority-East will close Lakeshore Drive in both directions beginning 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, and reopening Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 5 a.m. During this period, there will be restricted parking available ONLY for patrons dining at Lakefront restaurants.
Orleans Levee District police officers will manage the road closure and will be onsite in the vicinity of the restaurants to see that parking restrictions are enforced and to ensure traffic in and out of the area moves as intended.
The following park closures will take effect:
- Jackson Square: Saturday, Feb. 13, through Tuesday, Feb. 16
- Armstrong Park: Saturday, Feb. 13,through Tuesday, Feb. 16. This does not include people driving into the Basin Street entrance to use the COVID-19 testing site or employees reporting to work.
- Washington Square: Monday (Lundi Gras), Feb. 15, and Tuesday (Mardi Gras), Feb. 16 (Washington Square will be monitored on the weekend, and if crowd activity increases, the City will close the park in the interest of public safety)
- Brechtel Park: Tuesday (Mardi Gras)
- Mississippi River Heritage: Tuesday (Mardi Gras)
- Joe Bartholomew Golf Course: Tuesday (Mardi Gras)
No Parking Zones
Between the hours of 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. each day Feb. 12 through Feb. 17, parking will not be allowed on the following streets:
- Iberville Street between Dauphine Street and Royal Street
- Bienville Street between Dauphine Street and Royal Street
- Conti Street between Dauphine Street and Royal Street
- St. Louis Street between Dauphine Street and Royal Street
- Toulouse Street between Dauphine Street and Royal Street
- St. PeterStreet between Dauphine Street and Royal Street
- Orleans Street between Dauphine Street and Royal Street
- St. Ann Street between Dauphine Street and Royal Street
- Bourbon Street between St. Ann Street and Dumaine Street
- Canal Street between Convention Center Boulevard and Burgundy Street
- Frenchmen Street between Decatur Street and RoyalStreet
- Decatur Street between Dumaine Street and St. Louis Street
All NOPD personnel will be in operation during this period, along with Louisiana State Police personnel on hand to assist NOPD in implementing this plan. Officers will be instructed to break up congregating crowds, with possibility of ticketing or arrest for those who do not comply.
In accordance with restrictions announced last week by Mayor LaToya Cantrell, all bars operating in the City of New Orleans must close from February 12 through 2 a.m. on February 16.
Also, no go-cups of alcohol are permitted in the city and no package liquor sales are allowed in the French Quarter area. The NOPD will be patrolling for any violations of these restrictions. Also, there will be no live musical performances allowed anywhere in the city, including in the French Quarter.
“Large gatherings spread COVID – and COVID can kill,” Ferguson said. “We are asking our residents and visitors to help us make this year as safe as possible. If you see or are aware of a large gathering, we urge you to call 311 and report the location.