NEW ORLEANS -- In recent years it has become part of the Carnival season. In the weeks leading up to the first parades, construction crews stop working and clean up.
However, this year not one, but three different key streets along the parade route will be affected, which means finding a good spot to watch the parades will be even harder to come by.
In the last year not much has changed on Napoleon Avenue between Claiborne and St. Charles. There are still construction barricades, fencing and the sounds of heavy equipment.
But now the Regional Transit Authority, or RTA, has its own construction project in full swing along St. Charles Avenue, a route all too familiar to parade goers come Mardi Gras.
“Mardi Gras is big for us,” said Caroline Croce. “We've got relatives, in-laws and friends coming in town always and we always set up shop right there.”
Caroline Croce and her family live right off the parade route along St. Charles and stake out a spot every year. Now they are worried this year will not be the same.
“Just last week and even maybe four or five days ago it wasn't dug up like this, and since it is just starting right now, my concern is will it be done in time?” said Micka Croce.
A spokesperson with the RTA said not to worry, though. Construction will wrap up Feb. 10 and resume after Mardi Gras, on March 6.
On Jefferson Avenue all the heavy equipment will actually be moved to the side of the road so the parades that normally stage along the street can still do so.
“The contractor will get to a point where he can safely stop his work and secure his equipment,” said René Poché with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
But if you plan to watch Rex and the krewes of Elk and Crescent City parade down Napoleon Avenue, expect even less standing room between the stored construction equipment.
This year, three sections will be fenced off to hold the machinery starting at Claiborne Avenue to Robertson Street, then again between Liberty and Danneel streets, as well as the block between Baronne and Carondelet streets.
In addition to that, one block on the other side of St. Charles Avenue between Constance and Laurel streets will also be sectioned off for equipment.
“Again, it will be similar to last year,” said Poché. “There will be some spots that are totally open, but there should be enough room for everyone to enjoy the parades.”
Although it may clash with the Mardi Gras celebration, the Croce’s say they will not mind the construction as long as the parades march on.
A spokesperson for both the RTA and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers say suspending the construction for Mardi Gras will not put any of the projects behind schedule.