Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- Thousands of football fans are beginning to arrive in the Crescent City for the BCS Championship, and the city of New Orleans says it’s ready.
The mayor’s office held a news conference Thursday afternoon saying that the city is ready to welcome an estimated 250,000 visitors to town.
Security is being beefed up along with traffic control to try and keep football fans happy and safe.
The city is bracing for a sellout crowd at the Superdome, which is currently in security lockdown mode until after Monday’s big game. Girod Street has also been closed to traffic.
Superdome officials say football fans will be searched by security wands and subject to full body pat downs when they enter the ‘Dome next week. Fans are also being asked to leave backpacks, weapons and noisemakers at home.
Across the city, the New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police, along with the Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish sheriff’s offices will be beefing up patrols, as thousands of visitor arrive by car, plane and train.
“There will be 740 officers around the Superdome and French Quarter. Our neighborhood [police] districts will be fully staffed,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This is going to be an event where we want to show the best of New Orleans.”
The city says the BCS Championship is expected to make a $500 million economic impact here locally. That’s more money than the Super Bowl.