Update (3:52 p.m. Friday 10/7)
Video (via Occupy New Orleans Facebook page): Mayor Mitch Landrieu greets the Plaza's new occup (-ants/-iers)
Occupy New Orleans (or as noted local satirist Mike Church calls it, a "Hippiefornia" virus — scathing, edgy, deliciously wicked!) began this afternoon, as hundreds (at least 300 or 400, despite what AP says) marched from Orleans Parish Prison at the intersection of Tulane and Broad, to City Hall and finally to Lafayette Square.
Quick aside on "Hippiefornia": Did Church start writing a column thinking that the Occupy Wall Street protests started in California? Then he was too lazy or too enamored of his own brilliance — that muse who saw fit to grant him "Hippiefornia," the same one whence came such originality — "spoiled vegan hippies" indeed, no one has ever said that before! — to change it when he found out they didn't? Anyway.
Speakers at the Lafayette Square rally said protesters plan to remain there until 4 p.m., when they will move to Duncan Plaza for a long-term occupation (read: they plan to sleep there, see Zuccotti Park).
While the protesters had a permit for the march — in fact the city offered them one and waived parade permit fees — there's no word yet as to whether the New Orleans Police Department is going to permit the protesters to stay in the plaza. Attorney Miles Swanson, a legal observer at the protest, told me that there is nothing in city code that explicitly prohibits them from sleeping there, and, so far as I can tell, he is correct.
(Camping is specifically prohibited in City Park per New Orleans Municipal Code Chapter 106, Article VII, Sec. 106-300. Nothing about Duncan Plaza.)
Update: I visited Duncan Plaza from 3 to 3:30 this morning (Friday 10/7). Participants were indeed allowed to sleep in the park. A few dozen people were camped out there, and an officer in an NOPD patrol car was keeping watch.
Photos after the jump.