In the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, several local outdoor events have issued statements relating to heightened security concerns and plans. Among the most notable is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which issued a statement as follows:
“Jazz Fest, as always, is working with all relevant law enforcement agencies–local, state and federal–to assess any security concerns and to provide the highest level of special event preparedness available,” the statement reads.
“Assessment is ongoing and, in light of any pertinent information learned regarding yesterday’s events in Boston, we will make any adjustments to our comprehensive security plan deemed necessary.”
It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to forecast that this year’s security lines at the Fairgrounds will be longer than usual. It is also safe to say that the bag checks this year likely will be far more through than in year’s past. With that in mind, there are several things to bear in mind for people headed out to the Fest this year:
Plan for a longer than usual amount of time to get through screening. Leave early enough that the extra time you spend in line doesn’t cause you to miss your favorite act.
Don’t expect to get away with smuggling in your favorite contraband, whatever it might be. As a criminal defense attorney in New Orleans, I represent scores of people each year who are arrested in and around Jazz Fest. I have written in year’s past about ways to avoid trouble at Jazz Fest, and reiterate with emphasis this year that bags DO get searched. But many who are familiar with the security lines know that historically you can generally get smaller “essential” items into the Fest pretty easily. Just be warned that things will be different this year, and what used to be a cursory glance into your bag, might turn out to be an outright search.
Enjoy yourself this year, but be safe and plan on being screened a little more thoroughly, and having it take just a little bit longer.