City Hall wants shorter, earlier Mardi Gras parades

Centaur, Gemini processions along Clyde Fant Memorial Parkway would begin at railroad bridge near Veterans Park
Shreveport’s two major Mardi Gras parades would start a half hour sooner and run a shorter route under the latest policy changes.
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 3:28 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2023 at 6:36 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Shreveport’s two major Mardi Gras parades would start a half hour sooner and run a shorter route under the latest policy changes put forth by City Hall.

The processions along Clyde Fant Memorial Parkway would begin at the railroad bridge near Veterans Park, according to a statement Mayor Tom Arceneaux’s administration released Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 9). Stoner Avenue originally had been proposed to replace downtown as the starting point.

By now most of you have heard that the Krewe of Centaur and Krewe of Gemini are in negotiations with the city of...

Posted by Krewe of Centaur on Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Another goal is to have the parades end by about dusk instead of well after dark. So they will start at 2:30 p.m. instead of 3 p.m.

Still another goal, the administration says, is to have better managed parades with fewer delays. Toward that end, the city’s contracts with the krewes “will have tighter restrictions on how far apart floats could be, better communication ability between the floats and the city’s EOC, more wreckers available to handle the inevitable mechanical issues with floats, more stringent requirements to start and end on time and penalties for krewes which do not comply with these contract provisions.”

And for the 2024 Mardi Gras season, the Krewe of Centaur parade will be unable to roll Feb. 3 as planned because the African American History Parade “has occurred on the first Saturday of February for more than 30 years as a kickoff to Black History Month,” the city says.

“The administration believes that it would be inappropriate to ask the parade’s organizer to move the parade two or three weeks later in 2024 to keep the Krewe of Centaur Mardi Gras parade from having to change its date.”

The city suggests that Centaur consider holding its 2024 parade on Saturday, Jan. 27 or Sunday, Feb. 4.

One Centaur member said the krewe has a plan he believes can help all the parades come together to guarantee safety and more exposure.

“We love the African American Parade,” Centaur captain Ricky Bridges said. “I’m making a proposal to let them ride in front of us . They can start at 11 like they normally do. That will give them more exposure. They would be on Clyde Fant versus downtown. They’re gonna get more people there, and it’s a lot more exposure for them.”

He also believes the krewes deserved more say-so in the decision-making process. The mayor’s office held a closed-door meeting with representatives of multiple krewes Thursday (Aug. 3) to discuss the changes.

“They just don’t understand the logistics of putting on this parade,” Bridges said. “The 2:30 start time, we have to come from our den and stage all these floats. It takes time to do that.”

The schedule changes also could mean a hit to the budget when it comes to getting their throws in time.

“We decorate these floats year-round. We put lights on them; everybody loves to see the lights at night. So that’s money we’ve spent. Our throw packages, moving this time up and the last thing would be changing the date and we’re on a time frame of when our stuff comes in.”

Bridges noted that their parade brings in about 200,000 people each year. “There’s no football, basketball here. There’s no Hamel’s Park. Mardi Gras is the only thing that is thriving around here.”

Below is that statement released by the mayor’s office: