Levee police address Lakefront concerns, prepare for new headquarters
The New Orleans Levee District Police headquarters will provide the police with more presence on the Lakefront, which is currently reported to be attracting activities like riding all-terrain vehicles on the street (ATVs), loitering, drag racing and noise disturbances, due to the lack of development on the lake.
During the last board meeting in 2016 for the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority (NFPAMA), the board unanimously agreed that the activity happening on the Lakefront is currently an issue and that they needed to check-in and communicate with authorities.
“We do have some problems,” Captain Craig Boudreaux of the Orleans Levee District Police said in a phone call. “We only have a few people.”
The Orleans Levee District is currently staffed at about 21 officers, and Boudreaux said that it is up to the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, if they want to provide them with more units. Bodreaux said he is in the process of hiring two people, and if all goes well he will hire two more.
“I hope they’ll find a way to fund all four of them.”
NFPAMA invited Boudreaux and East Jefferson Levee District Police Chief Robert Garner of the NOPD to their board meeting on Jan. 26 to discuss ATV usage on Lakeshore Drive and along the levees. Garner has aided the Orleans Levee District with sending out officers to help patrol. Boudreaux reported at the board meeting that the Orleans Levee District was visible for a total of 594 hours on the levees last month and issued 112 citations during that time.
“Normally in the winter it’s dead out here, but we haven’t had any real winter to talk about,” Boudreaux said.
When asked about cooperating with the NOPD on patrols, Boudreaux explained that he didn’t know how well that would work out, since the NOPD is short-staffed. He said the department hired 126 new officers in 2016, but 121 retired or left, so they actually only have a plus of five officers.
Where the Orleans Levee District police and NOPD can work together is with the new traffic cameras that went out into the city on Jan. 9 and will begin issuing tickets starting Feb. 9.
“We’re going to try to work in conjunction with NOPD on that,” Boudreaux said. “We talked to that traffic division and will try to work out a plan where we can put it somewhere to good use.”
A traffic camera is currently located down the street from Brisbi’s Lakefront Restaurant & Bar, located on 7400 Lakeshore Drive, but the camera only goes out on Sundays for now, which is when Boudreaux said they are getting the most complaints for speeding in the area.
“If you’re getting more development out here, you start taking away,” Boudreaux said. “You start have people coming out just for the development.”
The new 9,000 ft² Orleans Levee District Police headquarters, located on 6799 Elysian Fields Avenue, is being rebuilt for about $3 million and will be voted on to go out bid sometime in Feb., while the old blighted building is expected to be torn down in May.