NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — With the holidays quickly approaching, foot traffic is picking up in the French Quarter. In an effort to protect guests and locals, the Royal Street Patrol will be on duty soon.
“As we come into the holiday season, we have more visitors in the city, and this is just another layer of protection for the employees of all these businesses, for the residents of the French Quarter and of course, the visitors to the French Quarter,” said Christian Pendleton, Chairman of the French Quarter Management District.
The patrol will focus mainly on the 600-700 blocks of Royal Street and Bourbon Street with hopes of helping the understaffed New Orleans Police Department.
The Royal Street Patrol is set to relaunch later this month, focusing on deterring panhandling and illegal sales in the heart of the French Quarter. The city’s tourism office, New Orleans and Company, is providing $600,000 to fund the effort.
The patrols will be on foot and work in pairs to prevent crime in the quarter’s busiest areas.
“In 2019, we had 19 million visitors to the city, and just about every one of them visited the French Quarter at some point. And I think anytime that you can show that there are more visible patrols, there’s better lighting, I think that people appreciate that,” said Kelly Schulz, Senior Vice President of New Orleans and Company.
Pendleton adds that the patrols will not interfere with street performers and musicians in the quarter.
“The French Quarter is boring without music, without the performers. The performers are benefitted by a safe environment to perform in. Everyone wins on this and if there is a problem, it can be resolved, just come talk to us,” said Pendleton.
Pendleton says the French Quarter Management District is hoping to launch the patrol by the end of this month. Right now, they’re working with the city to organize the the patrols.
The program is expected to last for the next six months but could be extended after that.