The New Orleans Police Department has issued an advisory detailing restrictions on traffic this evening for downtown New Year’s Eve celebrations.
- 12 noon to 8:30 p.m.: Traffic will be restricted to one lane in both directions of North Peters and Decatur Streets between Dumaine and Canal Streets.
- 8:30 p.m. – 4 a.m.: NO TRAFFIC ALLOWED on North Peters, Decatur between Dumaine and Canal Streets. Only French Quarter residents with proper identification and hotel guests will be allowed through barricades to get back to their homes or hotels.
- 6 p.m. – 6 a.m.: If pedestrian traffic and/or vehicular traffic become too heavy at times in the French Quarter and on Canal Street, officers will temporarily stop drivers from driving down the most crowded streets. Again, this will only be done intermittently on certain streets until the crowds thin out a bit.
The department has also issued a press release concerning safety tonight. The full text of the release:
This year New Orleans has been named one of the top destinations worldwide to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and the New Orleans Police Department wants you as well as our tens of thousands of visitors to enjoy a safe holiday.
“This department will have a total of 500 officers deployed in the most crowded areas of the city tonight,” said Superintendent Ronal Serpas. “That includes the French Quarter, Canal Street, the Downtown Development District, Marigny and Tremé neighborhoods. “
“And it’s important to point out that we adjusted officers' schedules to ensure that all residential neighborhoods will receive the same patrol coverage as they have throughout the year. Residents’ safety will not be compromised," Serpas said.
As always, safety laws will be strictly enforced tonight
“It is illegal to fire a gun in the air to ring in the New Year. Falling bullets can seriously injure people, and in some cases, have killed. Although it’s been 18 years, most of us remember the tragedy of Amy Silberman — a tourist who came to New Orleans to celebrate this holiday in 1994, and lost her life when she was struck by a falling bullet,” Serpas said.
Anyone caught firing a weapon could be fined $1000 and get anywhere from 2-to-20 years in prison. The number of years a person is sentenced for this crime is dependent on the criminal record of the individual.
The NOPD will also strictly be enforcing Driving While Intoxicated laws tonight. Drunk drivers kill thousands of people nationwide every year.
If you are caught driving intoxicated, and it’s a first offense DWI, you will face a fine of $300-to-$1000, and you will be imprisoned for not less than 10 days and up to 6 months.
Superintendent Serpas said, “DWI is the most preventable crime. If you plan to drink tonight, make sure you have a designated driver in your group, call someone to pick you up, or get a cab. You don’t want to hurt yourself or anyone else.”
Another safety issue is the use of fireworks in New Orleans. People who set off their own fireworks many times injure themselves, the people around them or they damage property. Fireworks are a fire hazard.
If you see someone shooting a gun into the air, setting off firecrackers, or getting behind the wheel drunk — please notify the NOPD immediately at 9-1-1. And you can call (504)821-2222 for non-emergency matters. You can also call Crime Stoppers at (504)822-1111 to anonymously report people illegally firing guns.
The New Orleans Police Department wishes the people of New Orleans a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend, and a very Happy 2013!