MANDEVILLE, La. - The parade prep parking started early on West Causeway Approach Friday.
It's a common practice for families to stake their claim along the route with a vehicle or trailer. But since Police Chief Rick Richard took over, it's also been common practice for police to lay down the law of what parking is allowed and what's not. Dozens of signs are placed on both approaches, as well as Highways 22 and 190. Those locations are also marked, so police can see if someone moves the signs to create a spot, which we witnessed does happen.
Officers spent the morning cracking down with tickets and towing.
Richard said, “Just want to send the message that signs are signs and they'll be enforced, otherwise, there'd be chaos."
The problem is people parking in between the entrances or exits of neighborhoods and businesses and the signs that police have placed out on the route. They say these drivers need to have 25 extra feet in order to see on-coming traffic safely.
One man, who was cited for his illegal parking job, says he gets it. "There's a lot of kids out here and stuff,” said Paul McCoy, “A lot of people want to get out here and park early so it's understandable."
Residents appreciate the effort.
“I guess they have to do what they have to do," said Donna Canalizo.
Police say they're just doing what they can to keep Mardi Gras in Mandeville as safe as its reputation is.
Police say they towed nine vehicles by their cut-off time at 4 p.m. Eleven citations were written.