The parades have already started, and many of you have scored some great catches so far! If you haven't picked your spot yet, follow these tips for a great spot along the Lafayette route!
There are a lot of things to consider before heading out to the parades. Most of us will focus on safety, but police say they'll be out there in full force, so no one will be far from help at any given time. Others factor in bathroom facilities. Portable bathrooms will be up along the parade route, but it's best if you have a friend that lives near the parade for a more pleasant bathroom experience.
Three other reasons are parking, crowd, and catchability! I'm using my experience of being a spectator and a float rider so you get the best of everything.
Starting near the beginning of the route at Pontiac Point. The parade rolls down Jefferson across the Thruway toward downtown. Parking is probably the biggest issue in this area, unless you can park in one of the neighborhoods. The crowds are relatively small, so your catchability score goes up. But, at the beginning of the parade, you'll find float riders saving their throws since the parade is nearly four miles long.
Downtown is a great place for viewing. Parking is still somewhat of a challenge. From Lafayette Street near the Federal Courthouse, turning on Vermilion Street into the heart of downtown, the crowds get considerably bigger. You'd think that your catchability score would lower since you'll be competing with more people, but the parade riders get really excited at the big crowd, so your catchability score really goes up!
Turning on Johnston Street the crowds are huge. Parking is much easier all along Johnston too. Between downtown and UL, not only are you competing with a huge crowd, float riders might be "reloading" after throwing so much in the downtown area. So the catchability score briefly goes down, before skyrocketing once you reach University.
University at Johnston is your biggest crowd on the route. Plenty of people, but also plenty of throws. You'll catch a lot here. Beyond the UL Campus heading toward North College Drive is probably the easiest for you when it comes to parking. The crowds are huge, and the throws are plentiful!
As the parade finishes, it turns onto North College heading toward Cajun Field. Parking can be a challenge near the shopping areas because businesses want the parking for customers. There's plenty of parking near Cajun Field. The crowds are big toward the end, but the catchability score is mixed. Some floats have already run out of throws, while others are offloading everything they have left. It's hit and miss, but still fun!
Be safe, have run, and enjoy the parades!