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Thanh Truong / Eyewitness News
Email: ttruong@wwltv.com | Twitter: @thanh412

NEW ORLEANS -- For years, people have been bringing their grills, tents and portable toilets to the neutral ground during Carnival parades, but those traditions will be banned this year.

On Thursday, the New Orleans City Council unanimously approved a set of ordinances that affect how people will experience Mardi Gras.

City Council President Jackie Clarkson said the new regulations are not intended to put hardship on revelers.

'That's not our intention, to interrupt Mardi Gras. It is our intention to make it safer and more enjoyable,' Clarkson said.

Clarkson and District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell say the new rules are aimed at safety. They're targeting the public right of way, including the neutral ground. Certain items like tents, private portable toilets and furniture will be banned from the neutral ground.

'We have also prohibited roping off of the neutral ground or any place on public property that prevents residents, citizens and visitors from moving through the route,' Cantrell said.

Ladders will have to be at least set back at least 6 feet from curbs, and they're also banned from the public right of way. The same applies for coolers, grills and furniture.

Other new rules include the prohibition of tossing throws back at floats. Doing so could bring about a $250 fine. To some people like Jill Ceresinm, the new rules seem heavy handed and unnecessary.

'It's such an old tradition that changing it now is like everything else. Once you add one rule, you add another and another and then it just doesn't become fun anymore,' said Ceresinm.

One man attending Thursday's meeting spoke out against the use of private toilets along the parade route.

'We want a clean place to use the bathroom. We don't want to have to go back to the old school way of having a pee bucket in the van,' the man told council members before the vote.

In a perfect world, the thousands of people who will be lining the parade route will know exactly what to bring or not to bring, but that's probably unlikely. How exactly the new rules will be enforced is unclear.

'With all hands on deck, we will have a collaborative manner for enforcement that does not solely rely on the New Orleans police department,' Cantrell said.

The council did make some exceptions. It originally intended to ban the throwing of toilet paper but delayed a consideration of that ban until next year because it wanted to accommodate the Krewe of Tucks, which has toilet paper as a signature throw.

Clarkson and Cantrell say other new Mardi Gras regulations are being considered.

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