New Orleans police enforce new rules along parade routes


Posted on February 27, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 27 at 7:21 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Mardi Gras madness is upon us with mega-parades every night between now and Fat Tuesday.

There are new rules in effect along the parade route in New Orleans. The city's police Superintendent Ronal Serpas says compliance has been good so far.

"I'm seeing almost universal compliance with people moving the ladders back, which is a great thing for safety," said Serpas. "We're seeing some very strong compliance with keeping furniture off the neutral grounds. We're seeing some very good compliance with keeping the cross streets open."

Thursday, a lone tent sat on the Orleans Avenue neutral grounds in a prime spot for Saturday's Endymion parade.

Dave Moran from Harahan said he's been camping out there since Tuesday.

"I'm the number one Endymion fan," said Moran. "I'm out here every year and I have my tent and I'm glad to be here."

But, this year tents are not allowed along the New Orleans parade routes. Police instructed Moran to remove his from the neutral grounds.

"I'm just following the laws," said Moran. "I told the police I'm willing to work with them."

This year, no private portable bathrooms are allowed on public property, but the city set up plenty along the Endymion route.

The NOPD says it's illegal to block off parking spots in front of your house. Officers say drivers looking for a parking spot can simply move the makeshift barricades and park if they see an empty spot.

Mid-City neighbor Randy Traylor put out cones and trash cans in front of his house to reserve parking for his family.

"No arguments, nobody gets their feelings hurt," said Traylor. "There was a car parked in my driveway this morning and she moved it for me. I appreciate it."

Traylor says so far, he and his neighbors are following the new rule banning people from roping off spots on the neutral grounds.

"There's some paint on the neutral grounds, but there's not ropes and caution tape and all that other stuff," he said. "It will probably show up tomorrow."

The police chief is asking parade goers to follow common-sense rules.

"If you take up huge spots on the neutral grounds or if you try to tent off areas where nobody else can be around you, that sends a very negative message between the participant and that can get a little out of control," said Serpas.

According to the NOPD, the new Mardi Gras rules have only resulted in only one citation along the parade route. Police cited a woman for throwing beads back at float riders.