JEFFERSON PARISH, La.-- For more than 80 years, come Carnival season, the streets of the West Bank have welcomed the Krewe of Alla.
This week, though, the long-time West Bank krewe announced that if it was not able to get 200 new members by June 1, it would end up having to move to the Uptown route in New Orleans next year.
'I think the suburban krewes are just not able to get the support they used to have, for various reasons,' said Carnival historian Errol Laborde. 'The population is down on the West Bank and that becomes a factor, too.'
Jefferson Parish Councilman-at-Large Chris Roberts said the Krewe of Alla's announcement is part of a larger picture. One that, he said, shows people moving away from the West Bank.
'We were having some issues even prior to Hurricane Katrina and I believe that the storm certainly accelerated that,' Councilman Roberts said. 'Civic involvement is a key component of measuring how successful a community is -- and when you can't support Mardi Gras any longer, that should be a real eye-opener to a lot of people.'
According to Eyewitness News demographer Greg Rigamer, in the past three years, the West Bank has lost approximately 1,000 residents. Its population now stands at about 189,000 people.
It is not a dramatic decline, but one that Rigamer said is out of sync with the growth other parts of the metro area are seeing.
'Then when you look out at the long-term, you begin to question, where does that leave us from an economic standpoint? Where does that leave our population base to support businesses? What does that do to your schools, to the demand of property, property values as a whole?' Roberts said.
The Krewe of Alla tells Eyewitness News that they have received some interest from new riders since their announcement earlier this week, but it is still far below the 200 riders they need.
For more information on the Krewe of Alla, click here.