The New Orleans FBI office will be home to a joint operations center where the goings-on will be constantly monitored by representatives from all involved state, local and federal law enforcement and security agencies. Such a center is standard operating procedure for the Super Bowl each year, Anderson said.
New Orleans police will take the lead on local crime, traffic or public disturbances, Anderson said. "If there's any inkling of a terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack in any way," he said, "then we kick in with our full apparatus."
At Louis Armstrong International Airport, the Transportation Safety Administration is adding personnel and equipment to handle security checks, said TSA spokesman Jon Allen. He said there will be 11 additional checkpoint lanes added to the 14 existing lanes for passenger screening.
Five additional explosives-detecting machines have been added to screen checked baggage, and more than 100 transportation security officers will be brought in from other airports starting Sunday to help local airport staff, Allen said. The officers will stay through the middle of next week, he said.
Beyond the city's police costs, exact security costs are difficult to determine. Federal officials declined to detail specifics, and an NFL representative would say only that the league will spend millions.
Mardi Gras season happens every year, and the city is no stranger to Super Bowls, having hosted nine — including the 2002 game that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Although security planning for the Super Bowl has grown increasingly complex since the attacks, no acts of terror or other serious problems have been reported at Super Bowls in recent years.
Most Super Bowl problems in recent years resulted from human gridlock. At last year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis, 11 people suffered minor injuries during a free outdoor concert. But officials said otherwise there were few problems.
This year, officers will be prepared to reroute or block vehicle traffic when streets are full of pedestrians. As for terrorism worries, Anderson said preparations include formation of SWAT teams and "hazardous incident teams" — specialists in hazardous materials or explosives assembled from the various federal local and state agencies.
Serpas welcomes the help, but he said much of the cooperation comes from the partiers themselves — a diverse crowd that can consist of locals and families picnicking on parade routes and a more adult, heavier-drinking crowd downtown and in the Quarter.
"You look at that parade route, and on any one block there could be 10,000 people and two cops," Serpas said. "How do those two cops stay safe, and how does that crowd stay safe? We're actually working together."
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