In a statement the New Orleans Police Department says they received a call to their 911 service from an unidentified man who said: "There is a bomb in the Marriott Hotel and it's about to blow."
All Marriott hotels in the downtown area were immediately notified, police say and "Officers were dispersed to inspect every floor of every hotel in search of anything that looked suspicious. An employee at the Marriott in the 500-block of Canal street then alerted management that there was a backpack in one of the bar areas that had been left unattended for some time. Once hotel guests and staff in that hotel were evacuated from the building, an NOPD canine was brought in and determined that there were no explosives in the backpack."
NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas says, "We appreciate that the public is contacting us when they see suspicious activity, and we encourage them to keep doing so, as this is a time of heightened alert. But let me be clear: those who cause unnecessary fear and inconvenience for our residents and visitors will be identified and face the maximum in state and federal penalties".
Under Louisiana law, those convicted of making fake bomb threats can receive up to $10,000 in fines and up to 20 years of hard labor in prison.
Louisiana law also states that those convicted of creating fake explosive devices can receive up to 5 years of hard labor in prison.