JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — In Jefferson Parish, Mac Cantrell is a Mardi Gras pioneer.
He was captain of the Krewe of Thor for 42 years before the Metairie parade disbanded in 2013.
"We pulled the plug on it because we couldn't get people to ride no matter what the dues were whether they were $100 or $500," Cantrell said.
Over the years, the number of Carnival parades in Jefferson Parish dropped from 19 to 9.
Political consultant and Family Gras producer Greg Buisson said Metairie ridership took a major hit at the same time New Orleans krewes grew exponentially.
"You've got krewes in New Orleans that have never put a limit on themselves," Buisson said. "They've grown from 1000 members to 3000 members or to 3500 members. You think about that, every 300 or 400 members is a krewe in most cases."
This year, most of the krewes in Metairie, 6-out-of-9, are reversing the traditional parade route.
They will start rolling at Bonnabel and end at Clearview.
RELATED: Mardi Gras 2019 Parade Schedule
The parish now has minimum standards in place for the number of riders and marching bands krewes must have.
Some parade organizations also receive a financial stipend from the parish.
Every parade is a mini battle of the bands, with schools competing for a top prize of $3,000.
Parish Council Member Jennifer Van Vrancken admits this is a rebuilding year for Carnival in JP.
"I've told people this year we're going to try a few things," Van Vrancken said. "We'll see how it works. We may need to tweak or modify in the future."
Ridership in JP has grown from 2000 to 3000 over the past three years.
Mac Cantrell is bullish enough about the changes that he started the new Krewe of Kings. The inaugural parade will roll Sunday of the first parade weekend.
"We're going to go actually through the middle of Family Gras," Cantrell said. "They're barricading and the parade is going to go right through the people and the stage."
This year Family Gras is moving from it original Veterans Boulevard home across from Lakeside Mall to Clearview Mall.
Jefferson Parish officials and Mardi Gras leaders like Mac Cantrell say that everyone is doing what they can to generate new interest in the Carnival experience in JP. They suggest folks at home can also do their part.
"The only thing the krewes can ask is for the residents to come out," Cantrell said.
The parish promising a great Carnival season this year.