First responders train in simulated attack on Mardi Gras parade


NEW ORLEANS — Carnival season in New Orleans can pose a lot of challenges for law enforcement and first responders. There is also the challenge of preparing for scenarios where the worst happens.

Shots fired, a crowd in chaos and several people injured– but it was all a drill.

On Friday, the City of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security, New Orleans Police, Fire and EMS teamed up for a real life scenario — a terrorist attack exercise — focusing on an active shooter situation and a vehicle running into a parade route. 

“You can never ever be over prepared for something like this,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said.

This exercise came about partly because of the Endymion parade crash in 2017. 

During that parade, Nielson Ruzzuto plowed into parade goers — injuring more than 30 people. His blood alcohol level was almost three times the legal limit and victims were left with lifelong injuries. 

Friday’s drill was also based on past events and public safety agencies said they want to be prepared for the potential of an active shooter. 

During Carnival season, thousands of people attend parades and first responders want to make sure everyone makes it home safely. 

WWL-TV reporter Duke Carter contributed to this report.

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