NEW ORLEANS -- This weekend marks the beginning of Christmas in New Orleans. Several events are planned, including a parade and festival, but with bigger crowds comes a concern for safety.
Whether you're celebrating love or friends, the holidays bring people from all over the world to New Orleans.
"We are on our anniversary," said Marcus Brunson from Chicago.
"Once a year, we like to do a man-cation," said Christian Varghese. "So I figured the guys come to New Orleans one time a year and have a good time."
"Eating, drinking, relaxing, having a good time," said Alicia Hayden.
"I love the atmosphere and the culture here it's a blend of everything," said Alexa Brunson.
Director of Tourism, Mark Romig, says this year is no exception.
"On a good weekend, we'll see occupancies well into the 80-90 percent for the holiday season," he said.
In the French Quarter, the crowds are already here. Restaurants are full, shoppers are buying local and streets are busy with people getting in the Christmas spirit.
"I've seen some rankings where we've become one of the top three destinations for the holidays between the end of Thanksgiving and New Years Eve," Romig added.
This isn't a particularly big weekend for New Orleans, but, there are some fun events going on around town. So police say they're going to do what they can to make sure it's a safe few days for all.
Eighth District New Orleans Police Commander, Nicholas Gernon, says it may be a typical weekend, but his officers will still be on the lookout.
"We'll be out in force as we are every weekend," he said. "I know there's a lot of people in town for the games, there's a lot of people in town for the Krewe of Jingle parade and so we'll have a number of police officers down here both in regular uniform capacity, in vehicles, as well as foot beats. Also in undercover capacity in some of the areas where we know that they're needed."
Those visiting say their presence is seen.
"I've never felt unsafe," Alexa said.
"Lots of police," added Alicia. "We walked around a little last night and saw quite a few and today."
Which means visitors can relax and have fun. Leaving the city with full hearts and in some cases, full stomachs.
"We love the city and we're going to come back probably every few years," Varghese said.
"Being very full of food, 4 Poboys is my goal, those are good," Marcus said.
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