Jan 082014
 
Ladders form a backdrop to the Krewe of Proteus on Napoleon Avenue in 2012. A proposed new law would require all ladders be six feet back from the curb. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

Ladders form a backdrop to the Krewe of Proteus on Napoleon Avenue in 2012. A proposed new law would require all ladders be six feet back from the curb. (UptownMessenger.com file photo by Robert Morris)

All Mardi Gras ladders must be kept at least six feet back from the curb during parades, and may not be chained together, under a set of new laws being introduced this week before the New Orleans City Council.

In addition to being six feet back from the curb, “ladders, chairs, ice chests, chaise lounges, barbecue grills, and other similar personal effects” must be kept out of all intersections, according to the new ordinances being introduced by City Councilwomen LaToya Cantrell and Jackie Clarkson.

Complaints about ladders obstructing the ability of other revelers to enjoy the parades or step back from oncoming floats, and concerns about the fall risk they pose to children, prompted Cantrell to lead discussions about the law over the last year. The current law requires them to be set back as far from the curb as they are tall, but that law has been criticized as difficult to enforce, since it varies from ladder to ladder.

A uniform distance, by contrast, could be easily marked with signs on public property, clarifying the issue for the public, proponents of change have said. In fact, Cantrell had initially considered a 10-foot setback, but neighborhood leaders in September suggested that might be too far to be feasible, especially on the sidewalk side — leading to the six-foot language in the new ordinance.

In a similar issue, no portable toilets can be placed on any public property without written permission from the city, and the toilet companies will be fined $250 for violations — an effort to give the law more teeth, as the toilet renters can be hard to identify during parades, Cantrell has said.

Other new rules being proposed include:

  • Unwrapped toilet paper, a Krewe of Tucks favorite, may no longer be thrown from floats.
  • Anyone who throws anything at a float or rider can be fined $250.
  • “Stink bombs” and snap pops cannot be sold during parades.
  • Parking will be prohibited on either side of St. Charles Avenue between Canal and Napoleon or on either side of Napoleon between Tchoupitoulas and Claiborne two hours before or after parades.
  • New minimum ages have been set for people riding on floats or carrying flambeaux torches.

The new laws are on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the City Council, which begins at 11 a.m. following other presentations. A vote on the laws will likely be deferred until the Jan. 23 council meeting, however, city officials said.

  • Clay Bland

    There also needs to be a law prohibiting tents on public property, namely the neutral ground. Tents are a nuisance and take away from the enjoyment of the parades.

    • Drew Ward

      That law is already on the books and has been for decades.

      Check out Jean-Paul’s piece on parade regulations from this past carnival season. I believe I linked to the ordinances in the comments section.

  • BobB

    I can’t wait for the privileged class to be outrage that people are trying to actually see a parade and have to inconvenience them and their little brats. Mardi Gras is for everyone. Not just families with ladders. This law should have been passed years ago. It’ll only take one fall in the street with a ladder full of children run over by a float to get people’s attention.
    Believe it or not, it’s not all about you.

    • ethel

      I’m sorry, but people of all socioeconomic backgrounds can and do use ladders to watch parades. I grew up watching parades in a ladder seat and am now thrilled to enjoy the same experience with my kids. Oh and guess what, neither I, my family, nor my spouse are of the “privileged class.” All that said, I am also happy to move back 6′ and think the ordinance has merits. This is not an issue of “haves” and “have nots.” I would actually much rather enjoy the company of fellow parade-goers (on ladders or not – with children not all of whom are “brats”!!) WHO ARE OUT THERE TO ENJOY THE HAPPY, CONGENIAL VIBE OF MARDI GRAS than with some judgmental jerk who calls all kids in ladders “brats” or “privileged” without knowing a thing about them. The point of Mardi Gras is for everyone to come together as a community to enjoy the best free party on earth. You can take your condescension back to the ‘burbs, where I assume you live with a total lack of Mardi Gras understanding like that.

  • Lenora Hess White

    Hipster…. go home…..

  • WHODAT

    I thought this was already the law, but was never enforced. Even if they pass this one, where will the police find the manpower to enforce?

  • Kristine Rizzuto

    Tents should have to follow the same rule as ladders… actually, they all should be resigned to the “other side of the tracks” and, they should come down (the tents I mean) when the parade starts.

  • Angie Peckham

    “All Mardi Gras ladders must be kept at least six feet back from the curb
    during parades, and may not be chained together, under a set of new
    laws being introduced this week before the New Orleans City Council.” – AMEN.

  • Drew Ward

    GO LATOYA!!!

    Actually the law already puts the ladders as far from the curb as they are tall, so this actually loosens regulations a bit for them.

    The ladders if they’re allowed at all should really be relegated to the rear at all times. That way the kids on ladders still get a bird’s eye view, but everyone else gets to see the parade and enjoy carnival at the same time.

    Imagine that!

    • Owen Courrèges

      I have no problem with the ladder law (although I think the existing one was probably sufficient) although her proposal to ban the Tucks toilet paper throws is bone-headed and destined for some serious backlash.

  • eva_marie

    Flambeaux torches is redundant.

  • Guest

    Other than stands, ladders are the best way to keep young children safe during a parade, allowing them to safely view and catch throws without being trampled. We all know that the ladders are magnets for the best throws and what should be a big concern is what will happen when the masses try to snag the stuffed animals, beads, trinkets, etc. meant for the kids. Let’s say the ordinance passes opening 6-10 feet of space in front of the ladders, now picture the crowd of people that will be standing there. It’s a real possibility that in trying to snag the goods, the crowd mass could (unintentionally) knock into the ladder causing it and the kids to fall. A better solution would be to have designated (barricaded) ladder space on each block along the route, thus opening up space for everyone else. Just my opinion……

  • lnm725

    Other than stands, ladders are the best way to keep kids safe and parents sane. We all know that the ladders are magnets for the best throws and what should be a big concern is what will happen when the masses try to snag the stuffed animals, beads, trinkets, etc. meant for the kids. Let’s say the ordinance passes, opening up 6-10 feet of open space in front of the ladders; now picture the crowd of people that will be standing there. It’s a real possibility that in trying to snag the goods intended for the kids, the crowd mass could unintentionally knock into the ladder causing it AND the kids to fall. One solution that I think would benefit all would be to have designated ladder space (no set-back but with barricades) on each block along the route. In doing so, everyone would have the ability to get up close! What REALLY needs to end, is the practice of “reserving the space” by locking the ladders up on the route for the duration because everyone should get a chance to get up close. I’m all for an ordinance that would require all ladders to be taken down after the last parade of the day. Just my two cents……

  • will_k2

    Do tell about “the crowd of people that will be standing there?” Did you have a specific picture in mind, perhaps?

    My kids occasionally use a friend’s ladder that is set back about 6′ from the curb (per the existing law) and not once in 8 years have I seen anything like the behavior you’re describing.

    • lnm725

      Well, I’m glad you’ve never seen this happen and depending on where you stand/set-up, the crowd size and rowdiness can differ tremendously. Anyway, in the 50+ years I’ve been going, not only have I seen ladders get knocked into (not hard enough to fall) by people trying to snag the throws, but also experienced it while standing on one behind my kids – and had it not been for friends standing behind and to the side, we would’ve gone over! Now that was over 20 years ago, well before the required set back and when the crowds were no where near as large as they are today, so logically, the chances go up with larger crowds.

  • Thank you Latoya, most are great- but not the ban on TP (I don’t ride in Tucks) or snaps- Stink bombs can go- but kids need snaps.
    Enforcement? NOPD can’t get our stolen Neutral Ground back from the “were from here” crowd without big help.
    My suggestions-
    1- The RTA must restart Street Car Service (NOT BUSES) ASAP after parades- and run it up to 3 hours before each parade-
    This provides public transit-and promotes tourism, but also clears the tents and caution tape.
    2- Go at illegal short term rentals along parade routes, and the
    and Hotel Pontiac- i.e. the U-Hual rentals folks drive from x to park and live from.
    3- Publicly and loudly Post existing rules along the parade route.
    4- Demand more DYI fixes from us-
    Mine- we use cell phone cameras to expose C- below. Done right, maybe we can find hosts and sponsors who give daily prizes for best of the worst and the rudest of the rude.
    Best from Freret,
    Andy