AMO Secures New Orleans Mardi Gras Parades from Air and River

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3 mins read

NEW ORLEANS–U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) are conducting security operation to help secure Mardi Gras 2022.

After canceling last years’ festivities due to the pandemic, the famous Mardi Gras streets parades that first began in the 1830s are back in full force. The blaring, 80-member strong marching band music, the roar of the crowds, the piercing screams of children demanding trinkets, the sounds of thousands of beads swishing onto the streets, could not be heard amidst helicopter rotors hovering 1,500 feet above the city. In an AS350, with snug, noise canceling headsets, two AMO pilots were provide an added element of security to the festivities. Going back decades, the city of New Orleans has requested federal and state assistance to ensure a safe experience for the estimated 1.4 million revelers who take to the streets during the multi-week season that ends the eve of Ash Wednesday. 

View of parade from 1,500 feet up
Krewe of Morpheus makes their way down St Charles Ave. 

 AMO aircrews use their advanced camera technology to be an eye in the sky, while in coordination with the City of New Orleans command center on the ground they watch for illegal activity and other public safety risks. They  provide situational awareness to the ground units, while remaining unnoticeable at their high elevation. Down on the mighty, muddy Mississippi River, AMO utilizes maritime units alongside our partners to patrol the waterways, providing another layer of security in the zones around the Mardi Gras festivities.

AMO pilot in cockpit of AS350
AMO pilot in cockpit of AS350 over city of New Orleans

“We are honored to be securing  Mardi Gras event alongside the City of New Orleans and our law enforcement partners,” said Francisco Rodriguez, Director of the New Orleans Air and Marine Branch. “While our crews won’t be catching any throws from inside a cockpit or out on the water, they’re proud to provide our community and our visitors a safe environment to enjoy the festivities.”

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 AMO safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With federal agents and mission support personnel, aircraft, and marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation’s interior. Geaux AMO!