City's new Carnival rules enforced on first big night of parading

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 11:37 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 22 at 9:11 AM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS – Thousands of people lined the route as the Krewes of Oshun and Cleopatra kicked off the season's first Uptown parades Friday night.

“We love Mardi Gras we love the Mardi Gras season so just having fun, a good time,” said Uptown resident Derek Mills.

And as the parades begin, so does the city’s new Carnival rules.

Some of the biggest changes: ladders, chairs and grills have to be six feet from the street, private port-a-lets cannot be on public property, and no one can cordon off an area.

But with a shrinking police force, some wondered whether they would actually be enforced.

“I'm going to push it as far as a I can until they tell me I can't, and then I'll do whatever they enforce,” said Uptown resident Nick Moncure as he set up his tent.

But Friday night, police did enforce the rules. They told groups to move their chairs six feet from the curb, but Dale Fortner said that made it possible for others to stand in front of him and block his view.

“It kind of takes away some of the pleasure of watching the parade, because I’m not a young man anymore and I don't like standing up for a couple hours,” said Fortner.

For some, there's confusion about what the rules are.

“I don't even know the new rules, we're just coming out to have a good time,” said Mills.

“[Police] had to tell about everybody that was setting up to move back and everybody goes, ‘Why?’ and they say, ‘Well it's a new ordinance,’” said Fortner.

But many on Napoleon Avenue were already heeding the rules when it came to ladder set backs. Most parents we spoke with like the changes.

“They're a little bit stricter than before but I think safety is for everybody and it's our kids we got to keep our kids safe,” said Erika Olinger, who also rides in the Krewe of Muses.

Police Chief Ronal Serpas hopes, when it comes to enforcement, people will eventually begin to police themselves.

“This is the year of beginning to socialize the process, reminding people new rules are coming in, and it's all about safety,” said Serpas.

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