Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
JEFFERSON, La. -- With Carnival season in full swing, krewes are keeping busy and some are already looking ahead.
In Jefferson Parish, clubs are bracing for big changes next year. Critics say the changes go too far.
"Mardi Gras to me is making kids happy. When I ride I throw to the children in the street, see their smiles," said Krewe of Thor Captain Mac Cantrell.
The Jefferson Parish krewe hit the streets of Metaire on Sunday afternoon, and Cantrell was on-board a float. When he's not rolling Cantrell is creating mammoth floats at Mckinley-Cantrell Floats in Kenner.
The Mardi Gras veteran has also noticed major changes over the years. He says the Jefferson Parish crowds and number of krewes are shrinking.
"We only have nine parades in Jefferson Parish on the East Bank. When I started out as captain we had 21 on the East Bank and West Bank," said Cantrell.
More changes are coming. Last December, the Jefferson Parish Council approved a new ordinance that will mean tough love for krewes.
"We want to get back to the traditional marching bands and we want to try to get away from so much recorded music in the parade," said Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng.
Some of the new rules include making sure krewes are fully costumed and masked, and requiring krewes to gradually reach a total number of 10 marching bands.
The new ordinance will require krewes to add one new marching band a year until they reach 10. The deadline to comply is 2019.
Some like Cantrell say the Parish is asking too much.
"It was passed very quick, a lot of us weren't in line with the new ordinance. It's going to be very difficult to get 10 bands in Jefferson Parish. We can't get two to march in our parades now. We have to go out of state. We have to go out of Parish," said Cantrell.
However, Lee-Sheng, who pushed for the ordinance to pass, said enforcing the law is long overdue.
"In Jefferson Parish, on the East Bank at least, we only give 10 permits, so we want those 10 permits to go to people who really believe in the Carnival spirit and want to carry that on for future generations," Lee-Sheng said.
This year code enforcement officers have already beefed up patrols along some of Jefferson Parish's biggest parade routes.
"Safety is our main concern: one, for the riders, and two, for parade goers themselves," said Jefferson Parish Director of Citizens Affairs Sean Burke.
Cantrell agrees that keeping everyone safe is a top priority. However, he worries that tougher rules will do more harm then good.
"I just think some of the clubs are going to give up. We're not going to be able to get 10 bands. We're not going to be able to afford 10 bands," said Cantrell about the new regulations.
Jefferson Parish Officials tell Eyewitness News that they are also looking into several reports of inappropriate behavior by JP krewe members this past weekend. They plan to investigate and take appropriate action.