NEW ORLEANS -- With less than two weeks left until Fat Tuesday, the city of New Orleans is getting ready for what should be a big Carnival season.
The first big parade weekend is on its way and, Wednesday, city officials laid out their plans at a press conference, said residents and tourists alike can expect the city to go full force for Mardi Gras 2014.
At Wednesday’s meeting, several issues were discussed and much of it focused on public safety and parking.
Paradegoers can expect to see a significant amount of police presence along all of the parades routes, as New Orleans Police will be out in full force, working 12-hour shifts. In addition, the Louisiana State Police will lend another 120 officers to assist the NOPD.
New rules kick in this year for ladders, which need to be at least 6-feet from the curb, and city officials remind that those ladders should not block sidewalks or be located on private property.
The same rules apply for portable bathrooms on parade routes.
Companies and paradegoers can expect hefty fines if ladders or portable bathrooms are placed anywhere except in the correct designated areas.
Parking is always another huge issue during Carnival season, and officials said an additional 4,000 “No Parking” signs will be placed around parade routes. The Mayor’s Office warned that cars will be towed if they are parked illegally.
The city is pulling out all the stops to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.
"Of course, it takes and army of people to pull off these events. We will have every police officer on the street working 12-hour shifts, complemented by over 100 officers from the State Police. The New Orleans Fire Department and EMS will be all hands on deck,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
“Wouldn’t you want your police officers more focused, laser-like focused on the people who are trying to hurt somebody on the parade route, somebody who might foolishly bring a gun to the parade route? Please let your police officers do the work that they do best,” added New Orleans Police Department Chief Ronal Serpas.
The Mayor's Office says Mardi Gras 2014 will have about $500 million impact on the city of New Orleans.
Several parades begin this weekend. For a full list, click here.