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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

SLIDELL- The parade experience started early for the Coes, who had their spot staked out right at 6 a.m.

Sabrina Coe said, 'This is one of the biggest parades in Slidell of the year, really the best one and it's Friday so it starts the weekend off properly for the Mardi Gras season, we like to do it big.'

But this year, the experience includes a heavy social media push by the Slidell Police Department. The agency has used its Facebook to alert families to routes and road closures, its Twitter to update parade-goers on the status of the krewes and its website for a streaming live look at every parade passing through the city this year.

'It helps communicate with our citizens,' said Police Chief Randy Smith, 'Those that can't make it to the parade, they can see what's going on, they can enjoy it at home on their iPad, laptops or phone. And the people at the parade know what's going on.'

Residents say they like the interactive addition.

Coe said, 'It's informative so we know like the parking rules so it's fair for everyone. People aren't taking up all the spaces all week while everyone is working.'

Police say their effort isn't just for convenience, but it's also for safety.

'We want to keep Mardi Gras as safe as possible,' Smith said, 'We want families to come out with their children and be safe, number one priority.'

People on the route say the effort lets them get back to their priority, partying.

Police are also doing regular parade-related activities including placing undercover officers along the route and doing under-age drinking checks.

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