New Orleans city council proposes Carnival changes

Mardi Gras 2019 is cool - both literally and figuratively.
Mardi Gras 2019 is cool - both literally and figuratively.(John Snell | WVUE)
Updated: Dec. 4, 2019 at 6:26 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Setting up tents, RVs, or campers right on a Carnival parade route to get the best view could be a thing of the past if New Orleans city council passes new amendments.

“Having those boxed in vehicles, something bad could be in those trucks,” Council member Jay H. Banks said. “That’s one side of it but we also have the issue of illegal vendors those who just pull up a truck and start selling stuff and they don’t have any permits."

It’s one of a number of changes Banks is proposing for the 2020 carnival season.

"All of these efforts are to make Mardi Gras better for everybody," Banks said.

He believes campers and the like should move two blocks away from a parade route. He also doesn’t want krewes to throw plastic bags over the side of floats.

New Orleans leaders say every year, the Department of Public Works spend days picking up plastic scattered across the streets and down storm drains.

“Another public safety side of this is the marching bands have complained overtime that band members slip on these when they’re walking down the street,” said Collin Arnold, New Orleans Homeland and Security Preparedness Director.

Mardi Gras historian, Arthur Hardy, says these changes are minor and won’t hinder the season. “We want to encourage people to come, it is a family picnic but there has to be restrictions,” Hardy said. “I think this makes sense."

Another proposed change Hardy supports is limiting the number of marching bands or dance crews in a parade.

"Parades have gotten too long especially when you have three or four in the same day,” said Hardy. “The city is just trying to limit the number of groups in front of the parade and between each float."

Council member Banks says 12 marching bands or dancers can lead the first float and he wants to limit the number of dancers in between floats to keep parades on schedule.

“Try to get a better handle on the parades getting longer and longer and longer, which again puts a physical burden on the people that are keeping us safe out there," Banks said.

Banks, Arnold, and Hardy say these adjustments will not change the carnival experience.

"People adapt in New Orleans,” said Hardy. “We're cool. People are still going to come."

City council will take up the proposals at its Dec. 19 meeting. If it passes, it will go into effect during the 2020 Carnival season.

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