Mardi Gras

Orleans mulls laws on parade ladders, noise-makers

Posted: Jan 14, 2014 5:05 PM by AP
Updated: Feb 11, 2014 9:36 AM

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Carnival season parade spectators who traditionally crowd the sidewalks and street medians with ladders to view processions and catch beads thrown from colorful floats will have to back off a bit if the New Orleans City Council goes along with ordinances approved by one of its committees on Tuesday.

New restrictions up for a full council vote next week will require that parade-goers' ladders be kept 6 feet from the curb. Other Mardi Gras season limits advanced by the committee Tuesday would make sure barbecue grills and tents don't block public rights of way and ban privately owned portable toilets from public grounds.

The three ordinances encompass a range of policies aimed at ensuring safety along historic St. Charles Avenue and other parade routes. The routes become something akin to a miles-long street party as Mardi Gras nears and the parade schedule picks up, with ladders lining the curbs and medians looking like campgrounds full of lawn chairs, blankets, small tents and grills.

The ordinances either tighten existing restrictions or create new ones, attorneys said as they outlined the proposals to the council panel.

Among the changes: The use of tiny explosive noisemakers marketed under different names but often called "Snap'n'Pops" are outlawed, in part because they startle horses ridden by police officers patrolling the parade crowds.

Chaining ladders together - as some parade-goers do when they stake out parade-watching territory - will be forbidden.

Council members Latoya Cantrell said the council, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration and parade organizations have been working for months to come up with the new ordinances. There was no opposition expressed during Tuesday's votes but supporters appeared ready to face some pushback from a public unaccustomed to the new requirements.

"We do acknowledge that there is a lot of tradition - generational habits," said Eric Granderson of the mayor's staff. "Our task will be moving forward to educate the public."

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