In-Person Safety & Accessibility
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO) is committed to providing superior service to all patrons and works closely with event organizers to provide reasonable measures to accommodate guests with disabilities.
Visitor Safety Statement - Revised October 6, 2023
Our number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of our visitors, residents and those who work in the hospitality industry. As one of the world’s most celebrated and iconic destinations for global meetings andconventions, leisure visitors, major cultural festivals and national sporting championships, New Orleanswelcomes millions of travelers and countless corporations and organizations each year. Our cultural authenticity and the fact that we are organically Built to Host result in an unequalled success and travel experience in New Orleans like nowhere else, with every trip and gathering producing a world class memory.
New Orleans & Company and its hospitality partners flourish with great relationships with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), which we believe is the best police force in the world at managing citywide, logistically complex events such as Super Bowls, Final Fours, Major Festivals and Mardi Gras. Together with NOPD, we ask visitors to use the same personal safety precautions and to stay vigilant as they would at home or in any metropolitan destination.
New Orleans & Company partners with and engages the top leadership of the NOPD on all elements, locations and activities of every gathering and convention so they may be available not only to meet and discuss all of a group’s priorities and requirements, but to ensure coverage around convention venues and all areas where specific events are occurring. NOPD creates a deployment plan designed specifically for the needs of that group.
New Orleans Police are seeing an increased reduction in violent crime in the city. According to the end of September crime statistics, violent crime in the city year to date is down 20 percent from last year, due in part to alternative dispatching, the reimagining of deployment strategies, and embracing updated technology.
Other NOPD Notes
- On October 27th, the NOPD is set to graduate another 19 recruits.
- NOPD records indicate that the department’s measurement of compliance with the consent decree is approximately 90 percent.
New NOPD Interim Superintendent
On September 22, 2023, Mayor LaToya Cantrell officially swore in Anne Kirkpatrick as the new Interim Superintendent for the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) following an extensive nationwide search. Kirkpatrick says under her leadership, the department will push to reduce crime further, utilizing the community’s help. Recruiting more officers to the NOPD and then keeping them is also a top priority.
“Kirkpatrick’s expertise, fearlessness and dedication to public safety has proven that she is a true leader and trailblazer and is the right choice to lead our world-class police department. I know that she will give this department, and this city, her very best every single day as we continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors,” said Cantrell.
Kirkpatrick is one of the most tenured police executives in the country, with over 35 years of policing experience and 20 years as a Chief of Police. A Memphis, Tennessee native, Kirkpatrick has a proven track record across a diverse number of jurisdictions for transforming police departments and reducing violent crime. Kirkpatrick most recently served as Chief of Police in Oakland, where she implemented a significant cultural change in terms of increasing police accountability and transparency, improving Procedural Justice and implementing equity-based decision-making. This cultural shift coincided with a 20-year low homicide rate and a decrease in non-fatal shootings during her tenure.
Prior to her tenure in Oakland, Kirkpatrick served as Bureau Chief in Chicago, where she was the liaison to the Department of Justice (DOJ) while the Chicago Police Department was under investigation for patterns and practice of civil rights violations, resulting in a consent decree. Kirkpatrick also served as Chief of Police in the cities of Ellensburg, Federal Way and Spokane, all in the State of Washington, as well as serving as Undersheriff of the King County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to executive leadership experience, Kirkpatrick is a National Instructor for the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Association’s Leadership Training Program, where she instructs on topics including, but not limited to, Bias and Diversity, Emotional Intelligence and Leading Generations.
Kirkpatrick now moves forward to the New Orleans City Council for a confirmation process, which is expected to take place later this month.
More Patrol Cars
Since 2021, New Orleans & Company has funded four security patrol vehicles to supplement NOPD patrols in the French Quarter. We now have invested in an additional four vehicles, bringing the total to eight.
The NOLA Coalition
Formed in 2022, the NOLA Coalition is a diverse collection of over 525 local nonprofits, civic organizations, and businesses with an acute interest in helping to address public safety. The mission of the NOLA Coalition is to harness their collective resources to create a safer and more prosperous New Orleans for all residents. The NOLA Coalition supports near-term actions to reduce violence, paired with investment in youth services to drive generational change. We stand ready to invest – our time, our people, our expertise, and our money – to help make a difference for New Orleans.
Additional Security Protocols Underway
- Police patrol on foot as well as motorcycles and Smart Cars throughout the French Quarter, withspecial attention to Bourbon Street, Royal Street, Chartres Street, Jackson Square and parks
- Police patrol Convention Center Boulevard via patrol cars and Polaris carts
- NOPD officers dressed in fluorescent vests when directing traffic
- Mounted officers on horseback, when needed
- Additional portable light boxes on major cross streets
- Sky Watch towers to increase visibility, observation and police presence during special events
- Enhanced Blue Light Patrol – proactive patrols with off-duty NOPD officers to increase police presence
- All eight (8) districts are on 12-hour shifts
Downtown Public Safety Rangers
The Downtown Development District (DDD) created the Public Safety Ranger program as an integral elementof Downtown’s public safety network. The Public Safety Rangers are a non-commissioned force of safety professionals who patrol Downtown on foot and on bicycle. They act as extra eyes and ears for the policeand the DDD. Rangers are customer-friendly and provide visible coverage throughout Downtown.
Visitors Downtown also can utilize the DDD Public Safety Rangers, who are on duty seven days a week from6 a.m.-10 p.m. Downtown SafeWalk escorts are offered free of charge within the Downtown DDD boundaries.Call or text 504-415-1730 to check availability.
Common Sense Tips for Visitors to Any Major City
- Travel in groups and avoid walking alone on unlit streets at night.
- Pay attention when walking and using your smart phone as these devices have been the target of thieves nationwide.
- Do not leave your purse, backpack or briefcase unattended, especially not on the back of your chair.
- Be on the lookout for pickpockets. Consolidate your wallet. Don't bring every credit card and move it to your front pocket or/and wear a cross-body bag rather than a shoulder strap to keep your purse in front of you. Do not display large amounts of cash in public places.
- Consider removing your convention badge when leaving your hotel or meeting venue.
- When hailing a ride via a mobile app, confirm the identity of your driver before getting into the car.
- If you are intoxicated, please take a taxi, Uber or Lyft instead of walking or driving.
- Trust your gut instincts. If someone or something seems suspicious, leave the area, alert a police officer or Safety Ranger.
- If approached by strangers for con games, such as, “I bet I can tell you where you got your shoes,” do not participate. Simply smile and walk past them.
- Lock car doors. Stow valuables out of sight in your vehicle.
- Ensure that your hotel room door is fully closed and locked at all times.
- Do not leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from strangers.
- Remember that most laws enforced in your city are enforced here as well.
Accessibility Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will plenary sessions be captioned? Will they be live captioned or automatically captioned? Will captions be displayed to in-person participants?
Yes, the plenary sessions will be captioned. There will be automatic captions and live captions. Live captions will be verified and corrected after the event.
Is there guidance on making papers, posters, slides, and talks accessible and inclusive?
We refer all authors and poster presenters to these excellent NAACL 2022 blog posts:
Are there accessible transportation options to get to the venue?
Information about getting to the venue can be found on the MCCNO page on "getting here". As noted on the page, the venue has ample ADA parking.
Is the main entrance of the convention center wheelchair-accessible? Are the elevators accessible? How obstacle-free is the area where the conference will take place for those with visual impairments? Do the room numbers and elevators have braille labeling?
The venue is ADA-compliant. The main entrance to the convention center is wheelchair accessible. There are wheelchair-accessible elevators. The main lobby and foyer are mostly obstacle-free (except for a few conference booths and tables). Stages are accessible with ramps for presenters on wheelchairs. Braille labeling is provided at strategic locations throughout the venue. Mobility scooters are available for rent within the venue. Microphones are auto-adjustable; if there are requirements for specific lectern height, we may let staff know to arrange this in advance.
Visually impaired attendees, upon request, can have volunteers to escort them and open doors, as well as reserve seats in the front row of plenary sessions; please contact the NeurIPS 2023 Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Chairs via the NeurIPS Contact page to arrange for this.
You can learn more about the venue’s accommodations for accessibility on the MCCNO page on safety and accessibility.
Has the convention center staff had disability awareness training?
The convention staff has Federal ADA guidelines training.
How far is the specific conference location from the disabled parking spaces, the convention center lobby, etc.?
Per the map at the bottom of the venue webpage, there are ADA parking spaces and handicap drop-offs near the venue entrance.
Does the accessibility stall in the bathrooms accommodate large electric wheelchairs?
Yes, the venue is ADA-compliant, and multi-user restrooms have wheelchair-accessible stalls.
Are there lactation rooms?
Lactation rooms are located in the Hall B-1 lobby and Hall D lobby; we provide additional lactation space near or in the child-care rooms.
Does the venue have gender-inclusive restrooms?
The venue provides family restrooms. NeurIPS will convert 1-2 men’s restrooms into gender-inclusive restrooms; these restrooms will be clearly marked as gender-inclusive. Venue staff will be explicitly instructed not to police bathroom usage.
Are there quiet rooms (for any individuals with the need for such spaces)?
Yes, rooms 333 and 334.
Is there a prayer room?
Yes, room 201.