NEW ORLEANS — Safety is top of mind for many planning to attend or ride in upcoming Carnival parades, and for marching bands it's no different.
At L.B. Landry High School in Algiers, keeping students safe has always been a priority. Director of Bands, Wilbert Rawlins, Jr., said they won't let the recent crime keep students out of the spotlight.
"We've increased our security details. You know, our parents and our chaperones. We've had numerous amounts of meetings with them," Rawlins said, "So, we're not going to let the actions of some individuals take the opportunity or the time away from our students."
Rawlins said they're even talking with students about what to do in different scenarios, including an active shooter situation.
“If something happens on the parade route, then we all are to come together in one huddle, all of us," Rawlins said, "And the chaperones will surround all the children. And we will get them off the route as soon as possible and as quickly as possible.”
Rawlins said Landry will also have Orleans Parish Sheriff's deputies riding with them.
Warren Easton Director of Bands, Asia Muhaimin, has also addressed the city's violent crime with their band parents.
“At the beginning of the week we had a parent meeting because that’s our top priority because everyone has been noticing an increase in crime," Muhaimin said, “A lot of people are concerned, and they want to offer their assistance this year.”
Muhaimin said they will have more parents walking the route this year. That's in addition to the school administrators, teachers and resource officers who normally chaperone.
“The safest place for the band is on that parade route," Muhaimin said.
Chaperones will be trained to watch out for and respond to any threats.
Meanwhile, St. Augustine's Marching 100 confirmed they are marching in 10 parades this Carnival season, but they declined commenting on safety details.
"Respectfully, we will not engage in safety discussions. We look forward to serenading the streets of New Orleans as we do every Mardi Gras," St. Augustine CEO & President, Aulston Taylor said.
Warren Easton shared the number one tip for how revelers can protect the band.
“When a performing group is passing, please don’t try to cross those groups," Muhaimin said, “Don’t do it. We’re not going to do that.”
The band directors hope for the best-case scenario; students get to share their hard work with Carnival crowds.
“They’ve been working really hard in the classrooms. Really hard outside on the practice fields. We might’ve marched maybe 50 to 75 miles so far," Rawlins said.
“Let’s make this a very safe Mardi Gras, not only for our spectators, but also for our performing groups," Muhaimin said.
InspireNOLA's CEO, Jamar McKneely, expressed his concerns about crime at a peace walk held at Edna Karr on Wednesday morning.
He asked for a meeting with the city to discuss how to protect their students on the parade route.
Four InspireNOLA students have lost their lives to gun violence this school year.