Another big weekend of Mardi Gras parades is on the way and many folks are still talking about Saturday night's Krewe of Centaur Parade.  Our own Greg Atoms wrote an Op Ed asking if it's time to shut down Mardi Gras in Shreveport.

We got an interesting suggestion from a longtime Krewe member:

"I am a longtime krew member and float rider 29 years. I agree the crowds are getting out of hand . I think a positive change for all would be to change parade route to stay on the Parkway and start time to 2pm. That would remove a lot of traffic problems and reduce the drinking .Also the wider roadway is extremely safer! It is the same distance from downtown to Jimmy Davis Highway as the current route."

You can read the Greg Atoms Op Ed here:

New Orleans Holds Citywide Mardi Gras Celebration
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KEEL News got this piece from Michael Corbin a member of the Krewe of Gemini:

No one is more concerned about safety at Mardi Gras Parades than Krewe Members. We spend time and money to bring Marci Gras to The Ark-La-Tex each year. For 30 years the Krewes have brought Mardi Gras excitement back to the men, women and children who attend parades and show up rain or shine, rain or blue skies.

Corbin 2

Float riders follow a set of rules, enforced by Float Lieutenants, on each float. The Float Lieutenant can stop a float or remove a rider at any point for violating rules. Additionally, SPD can, and has, stopped a float and removed a rider during the parade. Gemini floats have walkers that follow beside the float to keep parade goers a safe distance from the floats. (Centaur may as well but I can not confirm). In many places on the course SPD walks along as well for crowd control.

It is not uncommon for float riders to stop throwing and tell spectators to move back. There are designated NO THROW areas on the route where kids and parents scream for beads.

The rules for parade goers are a combination of City Ordinance (law), rules and common sense suggestions. Activities on the route and off the route in parking lots and side streets vary greatly and are enforced by SPD and other law enforcement along the parade route.

Here lies the problem: Personal Responsibility. Parents who lift their children over parade barriers to get closer to the float. Parents who pay no attention as their children reach under a moving float to grab a toy or beads. Parents who allow unsupervised children to line the parade route while they gather around a fire or ice chest.

Float riders see scary things at times. We have the best view of the parade and see first hand the times when a few people make bad decisions jeopardizing the safety of all involved.

Evidently the power of the plastic bead is strong. No one wants to see anyone hurt on parade day. The City and SPD have done everything possible to protect, and contain, 200,000+ people attending an outside event. There is no need to consider ending Mardi Gras Parades because a handful of folks lack parental or supervisory skills.

Just as float riders do, say something to the children or parents you see creating a dangerous situation. Step up and make a difference. Everyone should.

We welcome your opinions about this.

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