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It's been a rough couple of weeks for Mardi Gras fans in the Arklatex.  There has been an inordinate amount of time and attention spent on the fact that the main issue with the parades is public safety and security personnel. And, because of short-staffing issues at the Shreveport Police Department, and apparent unwillingness of other municipalities to help staff the parades, Shreveport doesn't have enough manpower to adequately staff the parade routes.

Krewe of Centaur Facebook
Krewe of Centaur Facebook

Here's a quick recap of the situation.  Several weeks ago, the mayor proposed several changes to the two largest Shreveport parades, including:

  • Moving up the start time to 2:30P
  • Changing the location of the start of the parade from Lake Street to the RR trestle overpass on Clyde Fant Parkway to shorten the length of the parade.
  • Changing the date of the Krewe of Centaur Parade from their originally scheduled date of February 3rd, due to a scheduling conflict with the African American Parade, (which is traditionally held on the first Saturday in February each year.)
  • Make sure the parades end before 7P, to keep the parades from running after dark.

The mayor has conceded the start location of the parades back to the original Lake Street location after being able to secure an additional 30 officers to be able to cover that area of the parade.

But the mayor said the date for the Centaur parade would have to be moved unless 60 additional officers could be secured to staff both the Centaur Parade, and the African American Parade, scheduled to run downtown earlier that same day.

Shreveport Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau
Shreveport Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser told KEEL News last week that he didn't want the city to change the dates of the Centaur Parade because of its effect on international tourism.  Nungesser said he had just returned from a trip to Australia and New Zealand where he was selling North Louisiana Mardi Gras, and he stated people were already making plans to attend the parades on their scheduled dates.

To add another level of contention between the city and the state, Lt. Governor Nungesser told KEEL News he had sent an email to Mayor Arceneaux expressing his concerns and asking to meet to discuss Mardi Gras, but Mayor Arceneaux said last week, he had received no such communication from the Lt. Governor.

The mayor has since announced that he did locate Nungesser's original email that had been sent to his SPAM folder.

Nungesser told KEEL News on Tuesday, he was still committed to keeping the parade dates the same, and would assist however he could to help the city work out the security issues with the parade officials.

You can hear Lt. Governor Nungesser's entire interview on KEEL in the videos posted here.

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