Calls for new tandem float restrictions after Nyx death

Updated: Feb. 21, 2020 at 4:43 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - City council members say they are ready to take a look at rules that could possibly save lives during carnival. The move comes two days after a woman was killed as she crossed between two connected floats.

Belinda 'Puggy' Carmouche was killed Wednesday night, crossing between tandem floats in the Nyx parade, and her father is still in disbelief.

"Puggy is gone, but there are plenty more people who go, and accidents do happen," said Carmouche's father Ernest Turner.

Carmouche was the first person killed after being run over by a float, in 12 years but there have been plenty of close calls.

“My little nephew must have dropped something...all I saw is he darted in the gap between the two tandem floats,” said Rick Oster, who adds, a few years ago, he saved his nine-year-old nephew’s life, after the boy darted into the gap between connected floats, at Endymion.

"I didn't have time to think, I jumped in bear-hugged him and threw him into the crowd," Oster said.

Oster and Geraldine Carmouche’s father both believe it’s time to tighten up parade rules and possibly save lives.

"It can easily be blocked with something flexile...fabric, canvas, or mesh netting...I'm talking about tomorrow night's parade," said Oster.

Councilmember Jay Banks says the council is prepared to revisit the rules.

“We’re going to be intentional to try and tweak all that we can, this was a tragedy that was unfortunate. We hope that it never happens again,” said Banks.

Belinda Carmouche’s father is convinced, he believes a barrier between the two floats might have saved his daughter’s life and he said there’s no need to wait.

"I'm talking about tomorrow night's parade," said Oster.

"I would be very interested in that, and like to have that happen," said Turner.

The city does have an ordinance which speaks to tandem floats, but it calls for ends of each float to be enclosed.

"It was designed so that people connected on tandem floats, couldn't go between the two floats," said city councilmember Banks.

Geraldine Carmouche's father says that's not enough, and he says solutions shouldn't have to be expensive.

'Little kids it's a danger for them, they don't know where they are at...if someone throws beads, they will go scrambling for them...and run underneath those floats," said Turner.

"Sometimes it take a tragedy to bring about change," said Oster.

"What's the price of saving a life," said Turner.

Councilmember Banks predicts the council will take a look at new rules immediately after Mardi Gras.

Meantime he urges everyone to keep tabs on friends and loved ones at parade’s and be careful, especially when tandem floats go by.

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