Carnival krewes take offense to Nagin cutting Mardi Gras parade stands

by Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Ray Nagin’s decision to cancel the construction of reviewing stands for the parades is not sitting well with some Carnival krewes.

The reviewing stands at Gallier Hall would be among the casualties of the mayor’s cutbacks, which he announced last week, saying the budget passed by the City Council left him no choice.

Many Carnival krewes toast their royalty at Gallier Hall, and the captain of at least one parading organization said the decision not to build the stands is “a low point in diplomacy for the city’s relationship with Carnival.”

The captain of Sparta, who by tradition is masked, said his krewe is having to make plans for another spot to toast the queen and court.

“Mardi Gras does not ask from this city. We give to this city. We take back very little,” said Sparta’s captain. “And certainly we feel that the erecting of these very traditional stands is a very small gift that the city can give back to Carnival to say thank you for all that we feel we do for the city.”

Sparta’s captain said he was also insulted to receive an invitation to the mayor’s traditional king cake party to celebrate the Carnival kickoff on Jan. 6. He said he’s heard from several krewe captains who say they will decline the invitation.