Archive for May, 2014
The New Orleans City Council put through a new set of rules governing Carnival in New Orleans. Prior to the 2014 Carnival season, the council passed regulations that affected parade goers. This time, new rules make changes for the parading organizations.
The Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council has been formed, and is made up of representatives from each Carnival organization that paraded the year before. This committee reports directly to the mayor and will consider new krewe applications.
No more than 2 parades can roll on the same night, but with a grandfather clause allowing krewes that paraded that night the previous year. The city will issue no more than 30 permits annually, 4 fewer than in the past. However, if all requirements are met, any krewe that paraded last year will be allowed to parade the following year. The number of parades will be reduced by attrition only until 30 permits are left.
Each parade must have at least 14 floats. The maximum number of floats has been increased from 27 to 44 pull units, defined in the ordinance as a single tractor or mule pulling a float or a tandem float.
No more letter designations for royalty and specialty floats, all must have a unique, sequential Arabic number from now on. The definition of a tandem float has been updated. Now it means two or more floats, attached to one another and pulled by a single pull unit.
If a parade has 14 to 27 pull units, a minimum of 7 bands must participate. Those with 28 to 36 pull units must include 10 bands. 14 bands are required if you have more than 36 pull units. The old ordinance required a minimum of 7 bands per parade.
The schedule listing when each parade would run if bad weather caused rain-outs has been dumped, and the mayor now makes these decisions. The bad weather schedule sometimes led to several long parades in a row, leading to finish times of 12 am or later. Security is reduced greatly after midnight along the parade route, so this was partially a safety issue.
Night parades begin at 5:15 pm, a marching band is officially sanctioned and must be a middle, junior, high school, college, military or university band with no fewer than 30 musicians.
Talk about falling on your sword! The second oldest krewe in Jefferson Parish and the only krewe left on the West Bank are about to fall off the cliff. Both have received revocation orders from Sean Burke, Parish Community Affairs Director. I’ve written before about the suicide march Jefferson krewes are on.
In 2009, fourteen krewes held Mardi Gras parades in Jefferson Parish on the East and West Banks. 3 of 4 West Bank krewes have moved onto St. Charles Avenue uptown- Alla, Choctawand Cleopatra. The east bank krewes haven’t moved, though Rhea dropped out after their bingo revenue took a steep dive and they had trouble paying their bills.
If Adonis and Zeus are forced to drop out, Jefferson Parish would have 9 krewes left, all on the east bank. It amazes me that all the parades on the West Bank are disappearing. 9 isn’t a firm total by any means. Thor and Atlas, two established krewes, didn’t parade in 2014. The Guardians of Atlantis, a new krewe, was scheduled to run in 2014 but canceled out last summer.
Zeus’ 2014 parade only had 2 bands, 3 short of the minimum set by the ordinance. They also were short a couple of floats. Each infraction can result in permit revocation. I’m sure the offending krewes will appeal. Zeus is another old krewe, they started in 1957.
This is the end of an era, and it doesn’t portend well for Mardi Gras in New Orleans overall. The West Bank has a proud tradition of parading going back decades and decades. Alla, Jefferson’s oldest krewe, started in 1932, grew from a neighborhood parade into a super krewe, the brainchild of Blaine Kern Sr. It disturbs me West Bank parades are gone, I believe the entire process was very shortsighted. The West Bank deserves a robust parade schedule. What are all those West Bankers to do for Carnival parades in 2015?