NEW ORLEANS — With reduced crowds due to COVID and heightened security, this year's inauguration will be unlike any other in American history.
A field of flags line the National Mall in place of what normally would be a patriotic crowd to witness a new president sworn into office., but because of the pandemic, President-Elect Joe Biden will instead transition into office in front of the hundreds of thousands of flags and political leaders from across the country.
President Trump is not expected to be there. He plans to leave the White House with a departure ceremony.
"And they will not meet the day before, which is very unusual," said Dr. Ashraf Esmail, Criminal Justice Program Director at Dillard University.
Dr. Esmail said every inauguration has tight security, but this year even more so.
"Secret service has done heightened level of security, they have law enforcement from different states involved, capitol police involved," he said.
174 members of the Louisiana National Guard deployed to Washington D.C. In the wake of riots and unrest on Capitol Hill, The National Guard Bureau requested support from all across the country. Even those members are being vetted by the FBI. About a dozen guard members have been removed from securing the inauguration.
"I know the president, or incoming president, is going to be escorted from beginning to end," Dr. Esmail said. "They're also going to have very high-level fences, tall fences you can't get over."
The Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge will be closed out of an abundance of caution with tight security, prepared for possible protests.
"In my lifetime I've never seen anything like this in terms of the pandemic, racial issue, squabbles, the transition between presidents, it's very different," Dr. Esmail said.
President Trump released his farewell address Tuesday afternoon.
"I stand before you truly proud of what we have achieved together. We came here and did what we came here to do and so much more," the president said.
President-Elect Biden traveled to Washington D.C. Tuesday ready to take office in less than 24 hours.