New Orleans police clear Bourbon Street hours after city’s 1st coronavirus death

Health officials’ advice on “social distancing” amid the coronavirus outbreak apparently never reached the revelers on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

So on Saturday night the police delivered the message in person.

Video posted on social media showed New Orleans police vehicles moving into the city’s popular French Quarter entertainment zone, intent on ending the night’s partying – one day after Louisiana’s governor banned gatherings of 250 people or more.

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Earlier Saturday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted a photo of police clearing another large group at a bar – and noted that the city had just recorded its first coronavirus fatality.

The patient was 58 years old, FOX 8 of New Orleans reported.

“This is irresponsible, potential endangering the entire community,” the mayor wrote of the defiance of the governor’s ban.

On Friday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, had announced several steps designed with public safety in mind.

He signed an executive order to move the state’s presidential primary from April 4 to June 20, called for the closing of public schools until April 13 and declared that events drawing more than 250 people would be temporarily prohibited.

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Bel Edwards delayed the primary at the urging of Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican, who was concerned about the safety of the state’s many elderly voters and poll workers, the Associated Press reported.

Revelers walk down Bourbon Street in New Orleans, July 11, 2015. (Reuters)

Revelers walk down Bourbon Street in New Orleans, July 11, 2015. (Reuters)

“This weighty decision has been made out of an absolute abundance of caution for Louisiana’s voters, voting officials and the general public as a whole,” Ardoin told the AP.

The governor’s moves were similar to others being taken around the country. On Saturday, Georgia became the second state to delay its presidential primary.

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Several New Orleans tourist attractions opted to temporarily close, prompted at least in part by the governor’s order regarding crowds. The sites included the National WWII Museum and the Audubon Zoo, according to the Associated Press.

On Saturday, Louisiana officials said the state’s number of coronavirus had reached 77 – about double what the count had been just 24 hours earlier, NOLA.com reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.