After second death, mayor bans use of tandem floats for Carnival 2020

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The pioneering Bacchagator, one of Bacchus’ signature tandem floats, extends 105 feet. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

After the second fatality of the 2020 Carnival season involving a tandem float, the city Saturday night barred krewes from pulling more than one chassis with a single tractor for the remainder of the season.

The Krewe of Bacchus — known for its long, elaborate tandem floats — has agreed to break up its floats for tonight’s parade in light of the two tragedies. The Krewe of Thoth had planned to debut a three-section train float in its afternoon parade. It too will be split up.

The second tandem-related death occurred during Saturday evening as Endymion float 14 was passing South Galvez Street and Canal. A man was struck and killed by the three-section tandem float called “Captain S.S. Eddie.”

That tragedy came on the heels of a death during the Mystic Krewe of Nyx parade on Wednesday evening. Geraldine Carmouche, 58, was run over and killed after she got between the two floats in a tandem. The tractor driver could not see her.

New Orleans police investigate the scene at Valence and Magazine streets, where a woman was killed after being struck by a float during the Mystic Krewe of Druids parade on Wednesday. (Dinah Rogers, Uptown Messenger)

Tandem floats, emblematic of the superkrewes, are a mainstay of both Endymion and Bacchus, which will parade tonight as scheduled. It is, however, adjusting its use of tandems, Clark Brennan, the captain of the Krewe of Bacchus, announced.

“On behalf of the Krewe of Bacchus, we express our sincere condolences to the family of the young man who tragically lost his life this evening,” Brennan said in a statement released Saturday at 9:30 p.m. “We have spoken with Kern Studios and we will comply with the City of New Orleans’ request to split our tandem floats.”

Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued the following statement Saturday night after the death during the Endymion parade.

To be confronted with such tragedy a second time at the height of our Carnival celebrations seems an unimaginable burden to bear. The City and the people of New Orleans will come together, we will grieve together, and we will persevere together. Our hearts break for those lost and for their loved ones, and our prayers and deepest sympathies are with them — and will be with them in all the days and months ahead. May our people take this moment to uplift our brothers and our sisters, to mourn as one and to move forward, together.”

Endymion’s Captain S.S. Eddie float rolls down Canal Street in 2015. (Zach Brien, Mid-City Messenger)

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