With memories of Halloween Horror still fresh, NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas announced yesterday that every New Orleans cop will be working New Year's Eve for crowd control. That amounts to 680 extra officers in the heavily populated areas of the Quarter, CBD, Marigny and Treme. Serpas also touched on a few New Years traditions that happen to be illegal.
The annual parlor game of "firework or gunshot?" is already in full effect. But it turns out the New Year's Eve explosions are illegal. Serpas called them a "fire hazard," and offered a reminder that people who use them often damage property and themselves.
We were also informed by the Chief that firing stray bullets straight into the air can be dangerous.
“It is illegal to fire a gun in the air to ring in the New Year," Serpas said. "Falling bullets can seriously injure people, and in some cases, have killed. Although it’s been 17 years, we all remember the tragedy of Amy Silberman- who travelled to New Orleans to celebrate this holiday in 1994, and lost her life after being struck by a falling bullet."
Firing fines can run to $1,000, and result in 2-20 years in jail, police said.
Serpas also said police will be on the lookout for drunk drivers.
“DWI is the most preventable crime," Serpas said. "If you plan to do any drinking on New Year’s Eve, 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. Don’t take that risk.”