March 18, 2024 | From City of New Orleans

City of New Orleans Hosts Readiness Event to Enhance Public Safety during Special Major Events

City agencies will host state and federal partners this week to ensure continued collaboration and preparedness for special major events. 



NEW ORLEANS — In partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD), the City of New Orleans is hosting a multiday readiness event from Monday, March 18 through Friday, March 22. The purpose of this initiative is continuous collaboration, preparedness and improvements for local, state and federal first responders to address tactical, radiological, nuclear and chemical scenarios and to enhance future operations.  

The City of New Orleans will remain proactive in ensuring continued public safety preparations for all major special events, such as Mardi Gras and the upcoming Super Bowl LIX, which is slated for Feb. 9, 2025. For instance, Mardi Gras has been designated as a Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) 2 event, which determines the risk level for events that may be considered as potential threat targets and helps determine the security resources needed. This SEAR 2 rating allowed the City to receive additional federal support and public safety resources. 

"The City of New Orleans is proud to host our state and federal partners for these critical exercises and discussions,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “As all our major cultural events continue to draw larger crowds, and as we prepare for Super Bowl LIX, it is vital that our local agencies remain in lockstep with all partners at the table. These preparations are necessary to continue to demonstrate how New Orleans is an international model for hosting and executing major events and festivals safely and successfully." 

DHS’s CWMD spearheaded coordination efforts for this week’s initiative, working closely with approximately 13 federal, state and local public safety agencies within New Orleans. Together, they identified operational needs, aligned strategic goals and devised a comprehensive event for the entire region. 

"CWMD and DHS have a proud history of leading federal efforts – in close coordination with state and local officials – to ensure the public safety during special events, such as the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras,” said Assistant Secretary for CWMD Mary Ellen Callahan. "Providing equipment and training to state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement and first responders is one of CWMD's primary functions to protect the nation from weapons of mass destruction. We truly appreciate the City of New Orleans' inclusion in this exercise and their proactive steps to ensure their readiness for Super Bowl LIX." 

To ensure seamless integration and consistency across events, DHS CWMD collaborated with regional partners, meticulously selecting scenarios that would test and enhance preparedness for multiple potential threats. 

The weeklong event in New Orleans will showcase the collaborative efforts from every level of the nation’s protective infrastructure, from local first responders to federal assets. It aims to bring agencies together under realistic conditions, promoting a managed, coordinated response. This achievement underscores the importance of professional relationships across agencies, collaborative support within the National Response Framework and the diligent pursuit of bringing all stakeholders together. 

Please note that these events are CLOSED to the public and the media due to the sensitive nature of these public safety tools, trainings and discussions.  


State and federal

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