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Mayor Mitch, Serpas Spell Out Mardi Gras Don'ts

CBD - As New Orleans gets ready to open the Mardi Gras Mainline down St. Charles Ave. on Friday, Mayor Mitch gathered city officials and the press today to remind everyone that there will be police officers everywhere during Mardi Gras, that it is possible to be rude to others on the parade route and that the City of New Orleans now employs elbow grease. 


"This event cannot work well without complete cooperation of citizens," Mayor Mitch, flanked by City Councillors Jackie Clarkson and Susan Guidry, said. "Be civil, be respectful, follow rules, and be courteous to fellow parade-goers."


NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas took a few moments to remind the public about a few parade route rules. Among the selections:


-Don't throw anything back at a float. (It's illegal.)

-Ladders must be far enough away from the curb so children who fall do not fall into the street.

-Don't bring a large BBQ pit to the parade route. (Bring your small one.)

-Don't put chairs or other items on the roadway between the neutral ground.

-Don't park your car directly on the corner of two streets.

-As Landrieu said, it "If a police officer asks you to move, I think you should move. I learned that as a teenager."

-Don't bring your living room to the neutral ground during Endymion.


On the last topic, Landrieu offered a warning similar to one issued last year that was later found not to have been enforced:



"If you rope off an area and don’t let anyone in there, you’re gonna get asked to take that down," he said.


Sheriff Marlin Gusman also implored people to wear flame retardant costumes, and City Hall promises all parade routes will be clear of debris within three hours of parades rolling through.


As Jackie Clarkson took her obligatory turn at the mic and called the NOPD the "masters of crowd control," Serpas said police officers would be "omnipresent everywhere." He detailed the NOPD's Mardi Gras shifts, which involves collapsing 3 normal shifts collapsed into two 12 hour shifts. 2/3 of officers work half of the day each, while the other 1/3 are assigned to parade route detail. Each district will have 10 officers, 2 sergants and a lieutenant on duty at all times.



"We pay very close attention to having police officers without usual looks for people who come to the parade with bad intentions, Serpas said. "When you look at these events, you always find a place you could tighten up. These events require a continual reassessment. Every day we find a way to be a little better."


That kind of attitude pervades the entire city workforce's preparations for Mardi Gras, Landrieu said. Down to every detail, they try to plan for every contingency.


"This is, as my grandma would say, elbow grease," he said.

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