Napoleon construction will keep some parades from traditional ro - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Napoleon construction will keep some parades from traditional route

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

Mardi Gras krewe captains have learned that the Napoleon Avenue route from Tchoupitoulas Street to St. Charles Avenue will not be open for parades by Carnival season because of ongoing construction.

"I'm sure that parade routes will have to be adjusted," said the masked captain of the Knights of Sparta. "I have heard the possibility of using either Louisiana or Jackson avenue to come from the river and begin the parades there. Of course, that would shorten the parade route immensely."

"It certainly is a problem," said co-captain of the Krewe of Freret Bobby Hjortsberg. "My hope is that the city doesn't decide to cut the route shorter."

The Krewe of Freret took the Napoleon route for their inaugural parade.

"I hope we can come up with something that allows the route to either be extended longer or at least be the same length. Of course, there's trees and all the things involved with it. It's going to be a massive undertaking, but we have no choice but to come up with a solution," said Hjortsberg.

Shortening the route wouldn't be the only option. Some parades already start from Jefferson Avenue, which the masked captain said could be another alternative.

"There are a number of ways to work that problem, and I'm sure we'll be working with the police in the days to come to solve that problem for each individual organization," he said.

Meanwhile, the mayor's Mardi Gras Advisory Committee has been offering solutions to the city on a list of other concerns.

"We are looking at improving not only the safety of Mardi Gras, but the quality of it," said Mardi Gras Advisory Committee Chairman Sonny Borey.

The masked captain of the Knights of Sparta said the committee hopes to limit the number of parades to 30 a year.

"In recent years, especially in the ladies' organizations, it has certainly proven that there is a means to get members. Some of the organizations that have come into being in the last five years have grown exponentially," he said. "On the other side, the more organizations that one grants permits to, eventually it's going to dilute the number of riders that can be in any one organization, and I don't think you will see smaller or medium organizations grow that much if there continues to be an avenue to join a different organization."

During the 2014 season, there were more than 30 krewes parading. Mardi Gras Advisory Chairman Sonny Borey said those parades will be grandfathered in, but if permits expire due to violations or not parading for a year, the permit will likely not be renewed if there are more than 30 parades.

Other ordinance changes include getting rid of the letters counting floats by allowing only 45 pull-units and requiring only numbers to be used.

"If we number through 45, it's very easy to say to the police department it's number 23 or number 16 that way," said Borey.

Fire safety measures to regulate generators and electrical cords for things like music systems will be considered by City Council.

Another ordinance that has already passed will strengthen enforcement for the rule that a Mardi Gras float can only be used twice in one Carnival Season in Orleans Parish.

"That leads to the integrity of parades," said Borey. "We want our visitors and our citizens to be able to enjoy all of Mardi Gras and the beauty of the floats. And so we feel if they're used more than twice, it shouldn't be that way. Any float that's used more than twice in Orleans Parish will have to have its outer layer changed more than 75-percent."

 

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