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Sky Watch

So I’m down in the Quarter Friday afternoon to get a haircut, and I see this strange contraption on Bourbon Street.

NOPD Tower at Rest

What on earth is this thing? I wondered. Imagine my surprise when it unfolded rose up to a height of about two stories.

NOPD Tower

Given that it’s on Bourbon, you might expect this is some new way to get tourists drunk, but no. It’s a mobile surveillance tower for the New Orleans Police Department.

NOPD Sky Watch Booth

Apparently it’s called “Sky Watch.” (Thanks to boxchain who took a picture of it back in January where you can see the name.) Apparently NYPD has one.

I’m extremely skeptical. Granted, it is bizarre, and I’m a big fan of bizarre. But it also seems obnoxious, intrusive and ugly. I don’t see how it will really help much. It seems more like a shiny new toy that probably cost a bundle.

Published inNew OrleansPix


  1. Looks like it could come in handy for observing the crowd on Mardi Gras or during other crowded street parties. Doesn’t seem like it would do much good the rest of the time. Looks expensive. Good use of money for a department losing officers.

  2. I saw one of those out on Severn in Metairie on the neutral ground.

    Ya know, if enough people get ahold of one for Mardi Gras, it might well make ladders obsolete…

  3. Carmen Carmen

    Can the City of New Orleans be sued for criminal negligence – “failure to exercise the degree of care considered reasonable under the circumstances, resulting in an unintended injury to another party”, yahoo definition – if they spent their monies on nonfunctioning crime cameras and this hoohickey and are claiming lack of crime labs and police stations are the cause for our current murder rate? If someone is murdered, or for that matter has any violent crime perpetrated upon them, can their families claim recompense? Anyone know?

  4. I would bet that the funds for this came from a Private Foundation, the same type of Foundation that is paying Lee Brown.

  5. Wouldn’t it be easier and less obtrusive to simply stand on one of the balconies and look for bad guys?

    In the Quarter this thing seems more likely to move them over a block.

    I wonder if FEMA paid for it and how many emergency radios it could have bought. I wonder who collected a commission on this thing.

  6. Lee Lee

    I saw many of these while at Disney. Their security department has them at all of their parking lots, which seems like a much better use than in the quarter.

  7. Those are a common site here in Suburbia and all around the metroplex. They are in the parking lots of all the malls and those shopping centers that have Best Buy type stores. I don’t even notice them most of the time so I have no idea how effective they are.

  8. Michael Michael

    There was at least one of these things in front of city hall when you gave your speech about violence.

  9. Good gracious. Haven’t seen these in the city. Probably because they aren’t where they should be… in the neighborhoods where crime actually occurs. Is this the Mayor’s Office initiative on crime — to be *really obvious* in tourist areas and continue to ignore local communities? I guess thinking that it would be anything other than that was wistful thinking…!

    I wonder if want would happen if we raised neighborhood funds and put one on our street?

  10. Carmen Carmen

    No, according to a pdf on Terri’s link, the NOPD purchased it:

    New Orleans isn’t listed on the customer list under law enforcement yet, but look who is:

    Quite an eye-opening sight. So Erika’s in Texas, and they’re common there, Disneyification continues at the mayor’s hand (albeit more slowly), products are being commissioned with ties to DC, Florida, and Texas. These are tough times not to want to buy into conspiracies.

    Do you think they’ll bother to put some up around JazzFest to protect festgoers as they leave?

  11. Actually, they might have ’em up just to see whose cars they can ticket and tow. Yet another favorite law enforcement pastime that is designed to endear this city to out of towners…

  12. Andrea Andrea

    Abe’s favorite thing about the French Quarter is the horses. If he were able to see this thing, the F.Q would be complete, in his 2 year old mind. Horses and Robots, what more could you want?

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