Posts tagged Cynthia Lee-Sheng
Since Hurricane Katrina, Jefferson Parish krewes enjoyed much lower standards, such as three bands per parade. That’s really not many for a full sized Mardi Gras parade. The parish has attempted previously to tighten the requirements, but between the storm and the recession, the new rules were relaxed.
However, a new day has dawned- the Parish Council has raised standards again, and that’s a good thing. For sure, the people of Jefferson are a fun loving group, and deserve more high school bands in their Carnival parades.
Naturally, some krewes are in favor of the upgrades, and some see them as a wrong step. The new rules bring the standards back in line to pre Katrina levels- 10 bands per parade. The council has offered the krewes a major bone with this change, telling them they only need to add one band per year, and they don’t have to do anything for Carnival 2012. From 2013 to 2019, they are required to add a band annually.
I think the Parish Council showed their restraint and wisdom with this move, and I applaud the attempt to upgrade the parades. There’s more to the new rules, and they all seem logical to me. Krewe members are now required to be in costume and masked, and float drivers (?) and horseback riders must abstain from drinking. Aren’t float drivers responsible for the safety of the krewe members on the float he or she is pulling? Isn’t drunk driving already very illegal in all 50 states of the Union?
Security concerns make for another new rule, this one should have been in force for years. All krewes are required to submit a complete list of all participants and their location on the floats, so if any unlawful behavior occurs on the route, they can hold the proper person responsible.
According to Sean Burke, director of the parish’s Citizen Affairs Department, which oversees the parades, his office has received an application for a new krewe for 2012, the first time since Katrina this has occurred.
According to Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, although the krewes themselves are private, Carnival is a community tradition that needs to be protected lest parades become indistinguishable from other parades, such as the Irish-Italian parade and others, who aren’t regulated very much, and have few live bands.
One other new regulation has to do with music, but not live high school band music, instead the recorded music blaring off of many floats for the entertainment of the riders more than the crowd. Sheng recalled one band who refused to finish the parade because they were being drowned out by the canned music from the float. They aren’t banning recorded music, but it can no longer compete with the band.