THIBODAUX, La. - It was supposed to be the usual Mardi Gras tradition in Thibodaux - watching parades with family and friends from your front porch.
The beads, the barricades, the banners, you can't miss that it's Carnival time down the bayou. But Saturday night a local mother said it got out of control in Thibodaux when a float rider lost control.
"Heavy duty hook screws, a whole pack of them into the crowd. After that, he took a big red Igloo ice chest, full of unopened beer, and threw it over the top (of the float) on top of a mother and a child," said Amy Eagan of Thibodaux.
The mother shielded the 18-month-old from injury. Police arrested Sean Harvey, 22, of Houma off of a Krewe of Ambrosia float.
"He did resist them at first, but we were able to take him into custody. He was arrested and charged accordingly," said Detective David Melancon, the Public Information Officer with the Thibodaux Police Department. Harvey was charged with improper throwing of unapproved items off of a float, resisting arrest and disturbing the peace due to intoxication.
Eagan wasn't the only witness.
"We have a veteran detective with the Lafourche Parish sheriff's office that was standing nearby, who actually was off duty and witnessed the entire incident," said Melancon.
Police confirm Harvey was intoxicated. This mother worries with night parades now, riders have all day to drink.
"You see them. They can't stand up. They can't focus on anything. I've seen some bent over sick," said Eagan.
She says another rider bombed a baby in a stroller with dozens of beads.
"The one on the top deck takes a (sic) armful, raises it above his head and just bombs the baby in the stroller. I had to move beads because I rushed to the baby. I had to move beads to get the baby out the seat. He was just covered with beads," she remembers.
Another rider, she says, used a super soaker water gun on her child.
"He was soaking wet. A two-year-old on a chilly night. There's no call, no reason for that," said Eagan. "We used to have fun at Mardi Gras when I was a kid. And it's ashame that my child won't know that. They'll never know the Mardi Gras I knew."
Police stress this is the first time this has happened and it's isolated, not a trend at Thibodaux parades.
In fact police say that Thibodaux Mardi Gras is so family oriented, that they block off two sections of the city and only allow families in with no tobacco, no alcohol, or music with vulgarity in it.
And police say since night parades began rolling two years ago, crime has not gone up.
Editors note: The Daily Comet provided pictures of the parade for the Eyewitness News story.
The president of Ambrosia said she was not available to talk on camera but apologized on the krewe's website to the mother in our story and to everyone along the parade route.
Here is the full statement:
"We would to thank everyone who came to see our Krewe of Ambrosia Parade last night. Our prayers were answered with such a beautiful evening.
As President of the Krewe of Ambrosia, I apologize for any issues that may have happened last night during our parade. Speaking for our Krewe of Ambrosia, I am very proud to say that we have lots of wonderful members that give up their time, put in endless hours of work and spend lots of money to put on our Mardi Gras celebration each year for the City of Thibodaux.
These are good folks from mostly this area. They too have families--their children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, so on watching them parading through our city. They want to put on the best parade around. Just as in any group or organization, you will find a few members that have issues following the rules of the Krewe. As President I would welcome an email from you stating all of your issues with complete details and way to contact you in the future. I can assure we will deal with the problems within our Krewe and membership accordingly. We want the Krewe of Ambrosia’s parade to one of pride for the people of the City of Thibodaux and the surrounding areas.
Thank all of you again for your past support of our Krewe and we look forward to next year."
Happy Mardi Gras,
Linda Verzwyvelt, President
2013-14 Krewe of Ambrosia