SWLA Gears up for Mardi Gras 2014 - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

SWLA Gears up for Mardi Gras 2014

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Letting the good times roll is what Southwest Louisiana does best. While the biggest party of the year is set to roll, it doesn't come without a lot of planning.

"It's a big event... We anticipate a lot of people coming in," said John Cardone, Lake Charles City Administrator.

Cardone said while they are prepared for everything from parking to cleanup afterwards, the biggest concern is public safety. Lake Charles Mardi Gras is a family-friendly event. Cardone said expect a big presence from area law enforcement.

"We will have help from the Lake Charles Police Department, the Calcasieu Sheriff's Office, the Ward 3 Marshal's Office, and the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office," said Cardone.

Cardone said they'll have five command posts set up along the parade route at the following locations: ICCS, Sel-Mart, K-Mart, the old Auto Plex, & the Civic Center.

"We are also asking the people that are attending the events to abide by the parade rules. We'll be discussing the guidelines for the public and businesses along the parade route at a meeting Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. at City Hall," said Cardone.

Meanwhile, the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau is ready to lay out the welcome mat for travel writers from all over the country, Mexico, and Canada. They're also playing host to a tourist group from Nova Scotia.

"They just want to participate and ride in a parade float, they want to tour the Creole Nature Trail, see and eat at some restaurants. We have a bunch of groups coming in for the event," said Kaylen Fletcher, SWLA Convention & Visitors Burea.

It wouldn't be a Mardi Gras parade without the beads, throws and masks. With less than week out, krewes are also stocking up on last minute items.

Connie Dickinson is one half of "The Mardi Gras Lady." Beads are their business.

"We are a seasonal business. Open from December to the day after Fat Tuesday," said Dickinson. "We go to market usually in April and order beads and gear up for the next season. It's a lot of fun."

Business has been good this year and nonstop as krewes gear up for the parades.

"It takes a lot of beads to make it through a parade... generally about 120 dozen per parade... per person," said Dickinson.

Dickinson said the more they throw, the more they keep coming back for more.

"Some people buy the bigger beads, some people buy the smaller beads. Some people do a little of both. But they get a lot of decorations and a lot of beads... And a lot of throws," said Dickinson. "And depending on the weather... if it's a nice day on Sunday for the Children's Parade - we can expect a mad rush the next day on Monday as they come in to get more."

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