Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS - As the final week of Carnival kicks into gear, businesses are getting ready for some of the season's biggest parades. But the threat of severe weather could force one super krewe to move its date.
The krewe changed its route slightly in anticipation of bad weather.
Endymion is set to roll Saturday evening and already along the Mid-City parade route people are marking their territory and businesses are gearing up for thousands of parade-goers.
"It's a big day," said Martial Voitier general manager of Mandina's Restaurant. "We plan on doing twice the business we do on a normal Saturday, if everything runs and goes well."
But there's a chance it won't. Severe weather is in Saturday's forecast, and that could put a damper on the parade.
"It would definitely hurt," said Voitier. "It's hard to tell [how much] because since we reopened, we've been blessed with good weather each year, so I'm hoping not to find out. But it might happen this year."
Endymion Captain Ed Muniz opted not to speak on camera until he finalizes Saturday's plans. But over the phone, he said Endymion has two options if Saturday's forecast continues to look foul.
If the rain holds off until later in the evening, the krewe would likely move the parade's start time from 4:15 PM to 3 p.m. But if Saturday turns out to be an all-day downpour, Endymion would have to move its parade to Sunday, when it would roll behind Bacchus, another superkrewe.
That would also force Endymion to move its route from Mid-City to Uptown, where Bacchus rolls, so police aren't stretched too thin.
"It's really a disaster in a lot of different ways," said Errol Laborde, Carnival historian and editor of New Orleans Magazine. "First of all, to the people of Mid-City, Endymion is the only parade that marches down Canal Street now, so to lose that is to really lose the major event in that neighborhood."
Many of the churches along Endymion's parade route would also lose out on thousands of dollars they bring in by selling food during the parade.
"This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and it's very important to us," said Betty Zachary, volunteer at Grace Episcopal Church on Canal Street. "And we're hoping and praying that we don't have rain because that will really dampen our sales."
This isn't the first time Endymion has faced the threat of bad weather. In 2006, stormy skies forced the krewe to reschedule to Sunday, and roll behind Bacchus.
"To have two big superkrewes going back to back isn't good for anyone. It's a long time for those to pass, it's a lot of stress on the crowds, a lot of stress on the police," said Laborde.
If the parade doesn't roll Saturday that would mean fewer bands because of scheduling conflicts.
Krewe officials said they plan to make a decision by Friday as to whether Endymion will roll as scheduled. But the ultimate decision-makers are the police chief, mayor, and council president.
Muniz said Endymion's ball will still go on as planned, even if the parade is rescheduled. He also said all 30 of Endymion's floats will still roll if the parade is rescheduled.