alexa mulberry New Orleans parades will be shorter this Mardi Gras
The number of marching units between the floats are being cut back because of safety concerns and problems keeping krewes rolling on time.
Carnival captains said they’ve seen a lot more walking clubs, marching bands, dance groups and other performers wanting to participate in parades over the years. And they said that is a good thing, until it causes the parades to run too long and delay the next krewe in line to roll.
Starting with the first 2018 Mardi Gras parade to roll Uptown on Jan. 6, there will be a maximum of 12 bands or groups allowed before the lead float and then just one between each of the following floats.
Link: Download the WDSU Parade Tracker app here
The change is just a recommendation this year, with all the parade captains agreeing to comply at a meeting with city officials this summer.
“It has to come from the spirit of cooperation among the carnival captains now,” said John Beninate, who serves as captain of the krewes of Alla and Morpheus. “It’s now incumbent upon all of us to do it. Unfortunately, we’ve had to get rid of groups that we’ve had for decades. We just told them we just can’t have them because we have to work along with everybody else to do this.”
Beninate said many of the groups they could not fit in their lineup were able to be worked into other parades,
but some will participate in fewer parades this year.
Aaron Miller, who is the New Orleans director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said longer parades also cause delays in reopening streets and put a strain on the city’s first responders.
“After the parades, that’s only half the work. We still have millions of people who visit our city and who are with us for a two, three week period,” Miller said. “But we also have to go through the entire cleanup process, and our firefighters, our police officers, our paramedics are still out making sure that roads are returned back to normal and that that cleanup process happens as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
The Uptown route will also be shorter this year,
with the elimination of the Canal Street loop. That decision was made to allow traffic to flow in and out of the French Quarter during Uptown parades because Bourbon Street will be closed to all vehicle traffic this year.