President Bush was flown to the safety of Barksdale Air Force Base in north Louisiana on Tuesday following terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Gov. Mike Foster, meanwhile, ordered tightened security at Louisiana's offshore oil terminal, the Louisiana Superdome and the state Capitol.
Military bases were tight-lipped except to acknowledge higher security. Access roads to the New Orleans international airport and the Louisiana Superdome were closed.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans scheduled an afternoon prayer service to mark the tragedies, then abruptly canceled after city officials asked that large gatherings be discouraged.
Foster was en route from Lexington, Ky., Tuesday. He had been attending the Southern Governors Association convention.
His spokeswoman, Marsanne Golsby, said his mode of transportation would be kept secret until he is safely back. Airline traffic nationwide was suspended.
The governor felt the terminal, the stadium and the Capitol might be conspicuous targets in case the terrorist attacks became widespread, she said.
Golsby said she and other staff members were preparing the governor's speech when he walked into the staff room moments after the news reports of violence.
``He stood there and shook his head back and forth,'' she said. ``The first thing he said was, 'There's going to have to be some swift retaliation when we find out who is behind this. We can't put up with this.'''
All Louisiana State Police troopers were on standby, Lt. Mike Edmonson said.
``One thing to keep in mind here, we have emergency procedures in place that we've been working on. We've done training exercises for different types of terrorist attacks in major cities around the state,'' Edmonson.
Workers left the upper floors of the 34-story state capitol, including the Secretary of State's Office and the Attorney General's Office. House and Senate staffers were allowed to take the day off while a security sweep of the building was underway.
Edmonson said security was increased at the governor's mansion.
``We're in the process of contacting getting in touch with each one of the petrochemcical and pipeline companies in the state, all our industries around the state, making sure that they are aware of what's going on and that they have procedures in place where they also are at a higher visual alert, monitoring all their activities,'' said Edmonson.
The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, in the Gulf of Mexico south of New Orleans, suspended operations.
Larry Wall, a spokesman for the Louisiana Mid Continent Oil and Gas Association, said all of the state's 19 refineries were on alert.
``All refineries have a plan to deal with something like this,'' Wall said. ``They are all taking precautions.''
All gates to the ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge were locked. A Baton Rouge city police car blocked the main entrance, and a police officer walked back and forth in front of the entrance.
New Oreans-based Entergy Corp., a major utility with nuclear plants in several states acknowledged heightened security, without going into details.
``We've taken normal security precautions, which we never discuss in detail. Our nuclear plant security is heightened, but there is, at this point, no formal emergency plan,'' said Morgan Stewart of Entergy.
New Orleans City Hall remained open, but officers guarded all entrances and emergency medical units were stationed around the building, along with special operations vehicles from the fire department.
The Port of New Orleans was still operating and the Mississippi River remained open to water traffic, said Paul Dauphin, spokesman for the port. ``We're in operations but we are currently meeting wih the Coast Guard evaluating the saftey of the river,'' Daupin said.
Security was stepped up at other public buildings that might be targeted.
``State police have sent some people around the perimiter,'' said Bill Curl, spokesman for the Louisiana Superdome.
Some office buildings in downtown New Orleans were closed to visitors. The World Trade Center of New Orleans, a 33-story tower on the Mississippi River front, closed down.
At Belle Chasse Naval Air Station near New Orleans, a base spokesman, who would not identify himself, said the base ``is in a heightened state of security until further notice. It may go higher.''
Officials at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City would not comment but Michelle Davison of the American Red Cross said the base had been shut down to civilians.
``Even American Red Cross Volunteers can't get on the base,'' she said.
``Fort Polk and all U.S. military installations nationwide are closely evaluating the current situation and are taking appropriate measures to protect the security of our people and facilities,'' said Ron Elliott, a spokesman for the U.S. Army base at Fort Polk. We cannot discuss specific security measures. However, we will provide more information on our security status and on the status of assigned units as the situation develops and as security allows.''