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Safety protocols discussed at last Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 10:38 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Carnival Krewe leaders and City officials sat down for the last Mardi Gras Advisory Council meeting before the season picks up with our first float parade, Krewe of Nefertiti rolling in New Orleans East, Sunday.

“I’m standing in full support of how we’re moving through, not only being prepared for Mardi Gras, but how we are moving through Carnival season,” Mayor Latoya Cantrell said. “I am so excited.”

One of the biggest items, top of mind when it comes to Mardi Gras planning, is public safety. Parade routes have already been modified to compensate for our shortage of first responders.

This year, much like 2020, we’re going to get some federal support from February 23 through Fat Tuesday.

Additional law enforcement resources will be available in the French Quarter and along parade routes, as well as enhanced air support. We will also have an additional 10 ambulances per day to assist New Orleans EMS.

What is new on the safety front this year, are the new tandem float nets, meant to stop people from walking between the floats.

Barry Kern with Kern Studios believes there is going to be a lot of people along the routes, if the other parades they’ve designed for around the country at the end of last year have been any gauge.

“There’s personal responsibility to be responsible for yourselves and for your kids around you and look out for the guy next to you,” Kern said.

“It’s all about safety this year,” President of Krewe of Endymion, Dan Kelly said.

That’s the main messaging coming out of the meeting.

“We’re prepared to do what we need to do and I think all of our 3,200 members are just happy to ride so they’ll do what they have to do,” Kelly said.

Health Director, Dr. Jennifer Avegno says she gets the feeling the Krewe Captains are dedicated to making sure public health remains a priority this year.

They do have to sign off that they’ve checked every person in every element of their parade’s vaccination status or negative test.

“Failing to do so, not abiding by it puts you at risk for not having your permit renewed and not being able to parade,” Avegno said.

She says we are doing better with Omicron but our case transmission is still incredibly high, adding although we are on the downtrend, we would be the peak of any other outbreak in this pandemic.

“Although it’s pretty clear that New Orleans has peaked and is coming down, it’s not a straight shot down and much of the rest of the State and Country hasn’t yet,” Avegno said.

Because there are so many visitors, Avegno obviously thinks Mardi Gras will be a high transmission event and we as a city will not be back to zero by the time it rolls.

That’s why she says it’s so important to have the community wide layers of protection through our mandates that will remain in place through Carnival.

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