LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Some changes are coming to Southwest Louisiana’s Mardi Gras this year in the form of new safety ordinances.
This comes as the Mardi Gras parade here continues to grow, according to Rebecca Moss, the secretary and parade chairman for Mardi Gras SWLA.
“So, to keep our city safe, we really thought it was time to step up the game along with our numbers," Moss said.
She said there are some new rules the city decided to put into place this year, like rules surrounding barricades and parade registration deadlines.
One of the biggest changes this year; the requirement for every float to have a Float Lieutenant.
“Where it effects Mardi Gras goers, as far as parades, now, every float for every parade has to have what they call the float lieutenant,” Moss said. "And this person will be sober, over the age of 21.”
Sec. 18-26. - Mardi Gras season.
(d) A list of all floats with the name of the assigned float captain/lieutenant and a valid phone number shall be provided to the assigned law enforcement point of contact at least 48 hours prior to line up commencing.
(1) The float captain/lieutenant must wear the safety vest, provided to the event organizer by the city, that makes them easily identifiable to parade organizers and law enforcement officials;
(2) The float captain/lieutenant must have in their possession a sign to alert police and/or fire personnel in the event of an emergency;
(3) The float captain/lieutenant must occupy the position at the front, left side of the float;
(4) The krewe or individual listed on the registration form is ultimately responsible for ensuring to the best of their ability, that all riders on the parading unit conduct themselves in a manner that does not violate any of the previously stated rules and regulations. This point of contact may be held responsible for the conduct displayed on their registered unit and could be held responsible for the payment of any fines assessed against their riders.
All of this year’s Mardi Gras ordinances can be found on the city’s website.
Katrina Leckband with the Krewe de Tracas said she agrees with the new rules because she knows they’re to protect the public.
“It’s all about safety and you know, Southwest Louisiana—we try to keep it family oriented and protect our kids. And so, I agree with them," Leckband said.
Moss said while there has been some push-back on the new rules. They’re in place for a reason.
“Believe me, it would be easy for me to run things the same way every year," Moss said. "But I understand our Mardi Gras is growing and hopefully one day we’ll be the largest Mardi Gras.”