NEW ORLEANS - With the recent announcement that three more krewes plan to roll Uptown, some believe there should be a return to neighborhood-centered parades.
The vast majority of those parades roll along the Uptown route, along St. Charles Avenue to Canal Street.
Only one east bank parade, Endymion, rolls on a different route in Mid-City.
Next year, even more krewes will roll along the route, since Alla and Choctaw have announced they are moving from the West Bank. The Krewe of Freret is rolling for the first time this year on the Uptown route.
And while thousands line the route hoping to catch beads each Carnival season, one Mardi Gras historian says having so many parades Uptown can cause stress on infrastructure and traffic headaches for those who live in the area.
Ryan Lee Waldron believes the city should consider encouraging Carnival parades to return to neighborhoods throughout the city, like in decades past.
“You could say this is our West Bank day or our Gentilly evening or our Bywater afternoon,” said Waldron. “It becomes a lot easier to identify those parades with where they're from, give uniqueness to those parades.”
Cantrell said she would be open to the idea if that's what both neighbors and krewes wanted.
“It's maybe reaching out to other neighborhoods to see who is interested in taking on the load. Again, you don't want to make those decisions that will involve and have an impact on neighborhoods without engaging them in the discussion,” said Cantrell.
But city officials say holding parades throughout the city would be too challenging to pull off, even if the parades fall on different days, because of logistics with security and sanitation.
“If we start jumping them around all over this city, I think it would be very, very challenging, and more difficult for us as a city to manage,” said Col. Jerry Sneed, Deputy Mayor of Public Safety.
Still, there are those like Waldron who hope neighborhood-centered parades will rise once again.
Experts say low attendance on other routes, and pressure from city officials to have a consolidated route, are the reason that most parading krewes now roll Uptown.