Shreveport Mayor Talks About Mardi Gras Changes
SHREVEPORT, LA - The word is beginning to spread about proposed changes to Mardi Gras in Shreveport for next year. Many members of the two largest Krewes are not happy about the suggestions.
What Changes Have Been Proposed?
One of the adjustments is an earlier start time of 2:30 in the afternoon. Mayor Tom Arceneaux and other city leaders have also proposed shortening the route to begin the Krewe of Gemini and Centaur at Clyde Fant and Stoner rather than in downtown Shreveport.
Another big change is to move the date of the Krewe of Centaur from the Saturday February 3rd date. Mayor Arceneaux says the reason for this change is “there is already a parade (African American Parade) scheduled for that day and we are not able to handle two parades in the same day with the current staffing." He says that parade has been rolling on the first Saturday of February for 35 years. The two parades have rolled on the same day before, but this year, the Mayor says we are simply too short staffed to handle both.
Why Have All the Changes Been Proposed?
Mayor Arceneaux says “our police and fire departments raised several public safety issues about the way the parades were handled and the way they went. And we began meeting to find ways to tighten up security.” He says the 2:30 start time is being proposed at the request of the police department so the parades are over by nightfall.
Arceneaux says the move of the start to Clyde Fant and Stoner is necessary to reduce the number of police officers to provide security. The mayor says the route is too long for the police department to man these events. He says the city pays for all of the security for Centaur and Gemini.
Mayor Arceneaux says "these are reasonable changes. The changes are based upon experiences not just here, but in places like Lake Charles and Lafayette. A great deal of effort went into this new plan. As opposed to moving the route, there were a lot of other suggestions that we thought were a whole lot more drastic, but we chose not to do."
The Mayor also says with the later start, people often set up and begin drinking earlier in the day and we would like to cut some of that out. But Mayor Arceneaux says if the police department had a full staff, we might still be discussing shortening the route.
Mayor Arceneaux tells KEEL News the family zone would not be eliminated. He says it would be moved to a location between Stoner and Shreve City.
The leaders of the two large Krewes, Gemini and Centaur are meeting this week and are hoping there will be another meeting with city leaders to talk about some possible compromises.
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