NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The City of New Orleans Wednesday provided updates on preparations in advance of the 2014 Mardi Gras season. Parades are scheduled to begin Friday, February 21, 2014. The City also announced enforcement policies in effect for the 2014 Mardi Gras season.
To keep the residents and visitors fully informed this Mardi Gras season, the City has launched a Mardi Gras Information and Updates website at www.nola.gov/mardigras
The New Orleans Police Department will have every officer working on 12-hour shifts throughout the 2014 Mardi Gras season. They will be complemented by over 100 officers from the Louisiana State Police. The New Orleans Fire Department and New Orleans Emergency Medical Services will also have all hands on deck and are ready to respond to any emergency. Along parade routes, the American Red Cross will be manning First Aid Stations at the following locations:
· St. Charles Avenue and Napoleon Avenue
· St. Charles Avenue and Washington Avenue
· St. Charles Avenue and Felicity Street
· Canal Street and Carondelet Street
The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness will be monitoring all parade activity and coordinating with the National Weather Service and United States Coast Guard helicopter that will be providing overhead coverage for all parades.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has demobilized its construction along Napoleon Avenue and Jefferson Avenue and fenced in the following neutral ground areas:
· Napoleon Avenue from South Claiborne Avenue to South Robertson Street (4 blocks)
· Napoleon Avenue from South Liberty Street to Danneel Street (3 blocks)
· Napoleon Avenue from Baronne Street and Carondelet Street (1 block)
· Napoleon Avenue from Constance Street to Laurel Street(1 block)
Along Napoleon Avenue, one lane both river and lake bound will be open at a minimum between St. Charles Avenue and South Claiborne Avenue. Napoleon Avenue neutral ground cross-overs will be closed at Willow Street, Loyola Avenue, and South Saratoga Street.
ST. CHARLES STREETCAR LINE
Preventative maintenance work on the St. Charles Streetcar Line has been suspended and the neutral ground has been cleared. Streetcar service will be provided along the entire St. Charles Avenue route beginning the week of February 16, 2014. The preventative maintenance work on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Line will resume on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 in the work zone between Napoleon Avenue and Louisiana Avenue.
On scheduled parade days, St. Charles Avenue Streetcar service will be replaced with buses from Canal Street to Napoleon Avenue beginning approximately two hours prior to parade start time to allow access to neutral grounds by parade goers. Rider alert detailing route detours on parade days are available at www.norta.com
The City will provide 700 portable toilets for public use. The Department of Property Management started placing portable toilets along parade routes.
MARDI GRAS PARKING ENFORCEMENT
In addition to permanent No Parking signs posted along parade routes, the City will install approximately 4,000 temporary signs. Drivers are encouraged to pay close attention to where they park to avoid being ticketed or towed.
Two hours prior to the scheduled start of each Mardi Gras parade, any unauthorized vehicle on any part of the published parade route will be ticketed and towed.
Beginning this year, parking on either side of Napoleon Avenue between Tchoupitoulas Street and South Claiborne Avenue is prohibited two hours before or after any Mardi Gras parade whose route travels on Napoleon Avenue.
Parking is also prohibited on either side of St. Charles Avenue between Napoleon Avenue and Canal Street two hours before or after any Mardi Gras parade whose route travels on St. Charles Avenue. This will ensure public safety and facilitate the flow of the Carnival Krewes ($75 fine and seizure);
Two hours after a Mardi Gras parade ends, any unauthorized vehicle on any part of the published parade route will be ticketed and towed. This is done to clear the route for the City's Department of Sanitation ($75 fine and seizure);
Beginning the Friday before Mardi Gras, at 6:00 p.m., until the Wednesday after Mardi Gras at 6:00 a.m., no on-street parking allowed, no vehicular traffic except those issued permits are allowed into the French Quarter between Iberville, North Rampart, Dumaine, and Decatur ($50 fine and seizure);
Parking of recreational vehicles, campers, and oversized vehicles is prohibited in residential areas. It is strictly enforced during the Mardi Gras season, particularly in the Central Business District, Warehouse District, and Garden District;
Before, during and after the parades, the City will extend enforcement efforts into the neighborhoods adjacent to the published parade routes. This will minimize non-residential intrusion. Parking Officers will primarily enforce the following safety violations:
· Blocking a fire hydrant ($40 fine)
· Parking in a fire lane ($40 fine)
· Parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant on either side ($40 fine)
· Parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk, intersection, or stop sign ($40 fine)
· Parking on a sidewalk ($40 fine)
· Parking on a traveled portion of the roadway ($40 fine)
· Parking within 3 feet of a driveway on either side ($40 fine)
· Parking on the neutral ground and subject to seizure ($75 fine)
· Parking adjacent to the neutral ground ($40 fine)
· Parking in freight/loading zone ($40 fine)
· Parking in a handicapped zone without proper permit displayed ($500 fine)
· Parking at an expired meter ($40 fine)
· Parking in a Residential Permit Parking zone without a permit displayed ($40 fine)
· Parking in the wrong direction (vehicles must park in the direction of travel on one way streets, and with the right wheel to the curb on two way streets) ($40 fine)
· Scofflaw vehicles that have unpaid parking tickets shall be immobilized.
For more information on parking enforcement, citizens may call:
· Department of Public Works (Parking enforcement and information), (504) 658-8100 (answered 24 hours)
· Information related to Residential Parking Permits, (504) 658-8200
· Pay and release of boot, (504) 658-8083 or 1-877-314-3767
· Information on Ticket/Tow Appeals Hearings: (504) 658-8250
PARKS & PARKWAYS NEUTRAL GROUND ENFORCEMENT
The city's neutral grounds are the direct responsibility of the Department of Parks and Parkways; therefore, any prohibited items that are placed on the neutral grounds will be removed and disposed of immediately.
The following rules are being enforced:
· All ladders used by parade spectators shall be structurally sound. No ladder, chairs, ice chests, chaise lounges, barbecue grills, and other similar personal effects shall be placed in intersections or between curbs of public streets during a parade.
· Ladders, tents, grills and other personal effects shall be placed six feet back from the street curb.
· Fastening two or more ladders together is prohibited.
· Roping off areas of the neutral ground, public sidewalks, or other public property is prohibited.
· Portable toilets are allowed on private property. Private portable toilets will not be allowed on neutral grounds, public sidewalks, or other public property without written consent from the appropriate governmental agency. A fine of $250 per day will assessed against the owner of the portable toilet.
· No structures can be erected (i.e. viewing stands, bleachers). The only allowed structures are those that are provided by the City Of New Orleans in city designated areas or those on privately owned properties that have been granted permission and issued permits by the City's Department of Safety and Permits.
· No bulky furniture can be placed on neutral grounds.
· Please stand behind the barricades when they are placed along streets while the parade is passing.
· Please do not run between floats or vehicles while the parade is in progress.
· Ladders should not be placed in the street or be tied together and should be placed back six feet from the curb.
· Parade viewers may not throw any object at any participant in a carnival parade. Violation of this provision includes a $250 fine per violation.
· Please do not stand or walk close to heavy equipment used in the clean-up process.
· Items such as sofas and tents should not be placed on neutral grounds.
· The juvenile curfew will be enforced during Mardi Gras. City curfew hours for juveniles are Sunday thru Thursday 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and Friday thru Saturday 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. In the French Quarter, the hours are Friday thru Saturday 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
The Department of Sanitation is responsible for cleaning the streets, neutral grounds and sidewalks after parades held on both sides of the Mississippi River in the City of New Orleans.
Hundreds of City workers, temporary workers, and contractor employees are utilized per day in clean-up efforts.
The success of Mardi Gras depends on the City returning the streets to normalcy and cleanliness as soon after each parade as possible. Therefore, cooperation from the public on parking, litter abatement, and neutral ground restrictions is vital. Vehicular traffic will be restricted until clean-up crews have passed.