NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The city’s Parks and Parkways Department has been very busy the past few days, confiscating what they call “debris” from public property -- including those ladders, tarps and chairs many use to secure their spot along the parade route.
From Wednesday on (Feb. 27), there will be parades every day through Fat Tuesday and there’s been some confusion among parade-goes who didn’t understand when exactly they could stake out a place for the festivities.
The city says “be respectful," with your things, but if you leave your ladders and chairs unattended overnight, there’s a good possibility they won’t be there in the morning.
Anne MacDonald, director of the Parks and Parkways Department, said there’s no official time frame of when you can start setting up, but there are certain expectations -- never impede cross streets and never leave your stuff unattended.
“We’re asking people to be considerate and use common sense," MacDonald said. “A parade is coming. That’s the day of the parade. You really shouldn’t leave your items overnight. It really negatively impacts sanitation and all the other city workers ability to clean up these places.”
However, there are some concrete rules, like never block crosswalks or intersections, keep your ladders six feet from the curb and pick up after yourself when the parades are finished.
“Use common sense,” MacDonald said. “We love Mardi Gras. I’m a native New Orleanian. I grew up here, I went to every parade in Gentilly, in Mid-City and Uptown. It’s really changing, and we hope that citizens consider their fellow citizens, the tourists that have come to enjoy it, and be courteous.”
The city said any furniture, like sofas, will not be tolerated at any time. If there is any furniture on public green space, it will be removed -- even if you are sitting on it.
“Our public spaces are not campgrounds," MacDonald said. "If you leave items unattended, that’s considered debris or trash and you run the risk of them being taken away and disposed of.”
MacDonald said city services like sanitation must clean the streets after a parade, and businesses are often open along the route so leaving items overnight is simply nor an option.
“Should you leave our items over night and unattended, [you run the risk] of them not being there in the morning," MacDonald said.
And these rules don’t just apply Uptown.
Allen Tee has lived along Orleans Avenue for decades and he knows just how packed it can get along the Endymion route.
“It’s for the safety of the people I believe," Tee said. “I know it’s hard for people to understand that and do it because everybody gets revved up and everything.”
Tee said he often sees people setting up entire camps on the neutral ground, long before the parade is set to roll past.
“Ya know, you’ve got cars passing. People are walking around and everything and it could be a safety hazard," Tee said.
MacDonald said once the city removes the ladders, tarps, chairs or whatever else it finds on public green space, their owners should not expect to get them back.
“We don’t catalog anything,” MacDonald said. “Like i said several weeks ago -- those items are at River Birch."