The coronavirus restrictions prevented the City Council from holding a hearing on Carnival safety planned for the March meeting of the Emergency Preparedness and Cybersecurity Special Committee, established in response to multiple tragic events that occurred in the past year. District D Councilman Jared Brossett, the committee’s chairman, has released the following statement seeking public input:
“I was looking forward to hearing from the public and Mardi Gras krewes on how we can make Mardi Gras safer for all who share in this annual tradition. I value your input and believe that success depends on us working together. “Since we are unable to meet in-person at this time, the Council wants to invite the public to submit written comments via email for safety improvements you believe the Council should consider. All written comments submitted to the Council via email by May 1st will be shared with Mayor Cantrell’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council.
The Krewe of Orpheus rolled in Uptown on Lundi Gras with the theme “Beastly Kingdoms of Orpheus.” The krewe of 1,500 male and female members, whose first parade rolled in 1994, rode on 38 floats with titles such as “The Cockatrice,” “The Tree Wyrm” and The Bridge Troll.” Several celebrities reigned as Orpheus 2020 monarchs, including Bryan Cranston, Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Ellis and Lauren Alaina. Popular throws included Orpheus collapsible water bottles, LED ram horns, plush gardenias, glitter Orpheus masks and lighted beads. Orpheus uncoupled its four tandem floats in response to the city’s announcement that tandem floats, multiple floats connected together and pulled by one tractor, will not be allowed for the remainder of this year’s Carnival season. The super krewe’s four tandem floats, including the signature eight-unit Smoky Mary, were uncoupled and each segment was pulled by its own tractor.
The Krewe of Proteus’ 230 male members presented a traditional parade Monday (Feb. 24) with 20 floats, 34 lieutenants on horseback and 48 flambeaux rolling through Uptown. The parade them was “Feasts and Libations” with floats titles such as “Absinthe,” “Feasts of Fools” and “Delicacies of the Deep.” Founded in 1881, Proteus is Carnival’s second-oldest parading organization. The krewe’s most sought after throws included LED flambeaux and plush trident crowns along with lighted beads.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Fergusen said the NOPD will meet with the mayor’s Mardi Gras advisory committee, krewe captains and others to review Carnival safety. “We lost two lives this Carnival season,” he said during a press conference on Monday. “It’s very disheartening.” During the Nyx parade on Wednesday, Belinda ‘Puggy’ Carmouche, 58, was run over and killed by the second section of tandem float on Magazine Street. Then, on Saturday night, Joseph Sampson, 58, was fatally struck when he got between two units of a three-section Endymion float at South Galvez and Canal Street. After Sampson’s death, the mayor and public safety officials outlawed tandem floats for the rest of the season, sending krewes scrambling to break up floats and find additional tractors and drivers.
The all-day Lundi Gras festivities culminate with two spectacular parades, one a study in traditional elegance and another in contemporary opulence. After the weekend’s parade-perfect weather, the National Weather Service has rain in today’s forecast. A slight chance during the day goes up to 60% at night. Temperatures will be pleasant, however, with low tonight of around 58 degrees. The first parade is named for a prophetic sea-god known in Greek mythology as the shepherd of the oceans.
“Bacchus’ Wild, Wild West” was the parade theme Sunday (Feb. 23) as the Krewe of Bacchus rolled through Uptown with floats titled “Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley,” “Sheriffs and Outlaws” and “Lewis and Clark.” The superkrewe’s famed multi-chassis floats had to be separated, but that didn’t lessen the spectacle. Bacchus LII and 30 lieutenants on horseback led the club’s 1,600 members riding 32 floats. Marching bands included several from out-of-state colleges, part of the 100-plus-unit parade. Singer, songwriter and “Masked Singer” judge Robin Thicke reigned as Bacchus LII, 32 years after his father, the late actor Alan Thicke, served as Bacchus XX in 1988.
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.