NEW ORLEANS - What the NOPD described as U.S. Army military training operations in an area near Poland Avenue rattled some residents of the Bywater early Friday.
The NOPD said the exercises will continue through Feb. 17.
"The training involves the use of training simulations and helicopters. This is done at night to simulate environments our troops may encounter in operatons overseas," said a statement from the NOPD.
Residents called Eyewitness News and posted to our Facebook page, reporting loud bangs and sounds that seemed to be of gunfire, along with bright, flashing lights in the early morning after 1 a.m. They said they were not given notice that there would be training exercises.
The NOPD said attempts were made to contact those living nearby.
"Prior to training in a specific area, attempts are made by the military to notify residents via door-to-door knocking and delivery of written notice. This happens at a few hours before the training, with the intent of giving residents warning about the sound without necessarily drawing a crowd to the operations. 911 operators were also notified."
A video shared with Eyewitness News by viewer Andy Bergeron showed several flashes, loud bangs and what sounded like rapid-fire gunshots.
NOPD spokesman Juan Barnes said "This training has been coordinated with the appropriate state, parish and city officials as well as private property owners."
One viewer, who said she wasn't notified, said she was awakened as helicopters passed very low in the neighborhood, followed by loud explosions. "I ran out on the porch and other neighbors were coming out to investigate," she said. "It literally sounded like a 'war zone.'