New Carnival rules target portable potties, ladders and more - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

New Carnival rules target portable potties, ladders and more

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Carnival season is supposed to provide a ton of fun for everyone who takes part, but the New Orleans City Council said that for too long, some parade watchers have been infringing on the fun of others because they don't obey the rules.

So the Council voted in favor of a series of restrictions Thursday, some of them not entirely new, but now stricter.

"Follow the law, so that we all can enjoy Carnival," said Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who co-authored the legislation along with City Council President Jackie Clarkson.

The Council said too many parade-goers are violating the rules, and at times compromising public safety.

"We get the phone calls when an emergency vehicle can't cross a neutral ground to get someone to a hospital, that's terrifying, that's unacceptable," Clarkson said.

The practice of throwing back items to float riders will get you a $250 fine if you are caught, and personal portable toilets are barred from public property like neutral grounds - a restriction that drew criticism from some who attended the Council meeting.

"Basically for a couple of simple reasons," said resident said Edward Deshotel. "We want a clean place to use the bathroom. Since we've been able to get port-o-potties, now we're able to take care of our young kids, our older parents like a grandmother, our nieces and nephews and people with bladder issues who have to go frequently."

Roping off territory on public property will also be prohibited, and ladders, chairs, tents, ice chests, chaise loungers, barbeque grills and similar personal items cannot be placed in intersections and must be 6 feet back from the street curb.

"It's not so much wanting to penalize people once it happens, we are working to prevent it," said Clarkson.

Some residents are not sure that goes far enough.

"No matter how far back you put the ladders, those ladders are blocking anybody who's behind the ladders," said Drew Ward.

How the city plans to police hundreds of thousands of parade watchers becomes a relevant question. When asked about the issue, Cantrell said the burden of enforcement would not fall solely on New Orleans police officers. She said other city departments would share in the responsibility, such as Safety and Permits and Property Management.

"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.

Earlier in the meeting, the Council withdrew an ordinance that would have banned Carnival krewes from using unwrapped toilet paper as throws.

"It's important for all the krewes," said Robert Reichert, a Tucks representative. "They all have their identity - Muse with the (shoe) heel, Zulu with their coconut, Tucks - we happen to have a 35-year history of toilet paper. It might be tacky, but it is what it is."

"It was not our intent to make an added burden on our Krewe of Tucks because they have purchased their throws for this year," said Cantrell.

Still, Cantrell and Clarkson said they will continue to work on ways to tighten Carnival parade route rules with public safety in mind.

"Sizes of krewes, numbers of floats, and many issues - everything was too much in motion for us to interrupt it," Clarkson said. "That's not our intention to interrupt Mardi Gras. It is our intention to make it safer and more enjoyable."

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