What are those mystery booms reported around New Orleans and elsewhere?

We look at some theories

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
February 06, 2019 - 7:28 am
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You don't have to look far on social media to find people talking about loud, strong, bright booms reported in and around New Orleans and other places.

Locally we have received reports from Uptown, Lakeview, Mid-City, Bucktown, Harrahan, River Ridge, Wagaman, Algiers, Harvey, Chalmette, Mandeville, Pontchatoula, Madisonville, Houma and elsewhere.

One caught on a surveillance camera and seen on WWL TV shows a flash near or on the ground and then a shaking that sets off car alarms.

Here are some of the reports people have texted to 870870 today...

  • Booms in Algiers over last two years... I always thought it was the movie people
  • Heard the boom is in Bucktown about 1030 last night
  • Yes, heard a very loud boom last week on the North shore in Ponchatoula. Friends in the Madisonville area heard it at the same time. It was very very loud and seem to be a long way off.
  • I also heard the booms in Chalmette too.
  • Heard 3 booms in Harvey towards peters road Sunday night.
  • Mandeville Boom a week ago.
  • My son and I heard this boom on a Sunday afternoon, two Sundays ago while playing golf at Audubon park. It was extremely loud. It was so loud it made people that were walking in the park and other golfers stop and just look bewildered. I am in the oil and gas business. I have heard and witnessed many boom s of which you cannot imagine. This boom was very unique in sound and in its decibel level. It shook the ground and it rolled.

One woman used reports of the boom to insist to others that she was not crazy.  

"see I was not the only one that heard this," she told others on social media.

And, it's not just around here.

The website mysteriousuniverse.org has been gathering reports from Chicago, Philadelphia and Panama City, Florida.

In Pennsylvania, residents of south Philadelphia were awoken late on the evening of January 29 by a boom loud enough to shake their houses and windows. After Philadelphia police received several reports of explosions, the U.S. Geological Service and the Department of Defense were contacted, but neither agency knows anything about the mystery booms.

Meanwhile, houses in Panama City, Florida were shaken on the same day by what was reported as a “loud bang,” although this one was reported in the afternoon. Curiously, some residents even reported feeling pressure changes and unexplained headaches after the noise was heard. 

To our west, the site thebigwobble.org reported similar events that have been going on for a long time and this week.

More reports of mysterious booms and rumbles in the Tucson area baffling southern Arizona residents for years...
Something is shaking the southwest and it's been baffling southern Arizona residents for years.
The latest struck yesterday, Tuesday, Feb 5, at 8:39 a.m.

This is not the first time this has been reported in New Orleans either.

A man in Kenner posted a YouTube video last year telling about booms he was hearing in November of 2017.  There were other reports in January of 2018.

There is some speculation that it is pranksters looking to get coverage on social media and local news with hydrogen filled balloons.  Those do make a bright flash and a loud noise.  You also don't have to look far to find instructions on making them on the web.

Could that make a loud enough boom to shake homes and set off car alarms?  Maybe with a big enough balloon.

Others have suggested it could be the commercially sold product Tannerite.  That's typically used during gun target practice and does make a large flash and bang with enough explosive material.  There have not been reports of gunfire associated with the booms, however.

Someone texted 870870 today suggesting a firework could be used to set off the Tennerite.

They said, "Baseball size piece of tanerite with a firecracker inside. No gunshot needed"

So I looked online, and sure enough...

A caller suggested it could be a sparkler bomb... three packs of wire sparklers wrapped in black tape.

Here's what that looks like...

There are lots of other theories as well.  Here are few others people texted us...

  • The unbalanced electrons and protons in the atmosphere. This causes a large static shock which causes the light and boom.
  • Those booms sound like when my wife says "hey what was that noise? And I say "nothing" go back to sleep
  • Anybody check with Hollywood South in Harahan for Booms
  • The unbalanced electrons and protons in the atmosphere
  • Chlorine bombs Dave they have the flash an big boom an will destroy the bottle
  • Sonic boom from jets, Kessler AFB?
  • It's the end of the world, as we know it - BOOM
  • Oddly enough, what was very little talked about last year, we had large meteorite that passed the Earth, that was closer, in relative distance, than the moon. Scientists and astrologists didn't see it until it was 24 hours away from Earth. Could this possibly be tiny meteorites?
  • could it have been carl blowing up the course to get the gophers?
  • Random booms all over the country with no evidence and no explanation.… Got to be the government
  • Aliens
  • The booms are aliens sending signals home for an invasion. The reason no one has an idea what or where they are from is because they are under the earth or in the Water.
  • Transformers on power poles?


While there are likely different explanations for different booms heard, many of them have gone unsolved.  The one caught on video in New Orleans this week was likely not a jet or meteor because the flash was so low to the ground.  But others, elsewhere, have been explained by both of those theories.

It was not likely exploding power transformers causing the most recent booms around here, because there were no power outages reported with the booms.

Hollywood South movie and TV productions have to alert local police about any simulated explosions or gunfire during shooting, so we know the ones reported recently were not part of any official productions.

Maybe hydrogen balloons, maybe Tannerite with fireworks, maybe sparkler bombs.

If it is large static shock, that would be a lot of static electricity. 

Aliens, UFOs or the end of the world?  I guess we'll just let the speculation continue.

If this is indeed pranksters just looking to get attention on social media and local news, I guess we are just playing right into their hands by talking about it.

Oh, there are also plenty of reports of people trying to set off hydrogen balloons, Tannerite and sparkler bombs getting seriously injured and causing a lot of damage.

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