St. Patrick’s parade route unchanged, fully staffed, city says
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The city of New Orleans offered an explanation Tuesday regarding the steps it will take to ensure second line safety.
The city’s initial announcement drew ire from second line groups, fearful that officers would be shutting down parades or governing the size of them.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, city officials reiterated their commitment to the culture of second lines while explaining how they plan to enforce rules that have been on the books for more than five years.
City spokesperson Beau Tidwell says the refreshed push for obedience stems from a lack of police manpower. He says they are not trying to shut anyone down, rather looking for ways to ensure officers can get a break after a long Carnival season.
The city is monitoring how many officers have signed up to provide security for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parade. In a statement on Wednesday, Tidwell says the parade is fully staffed and no changes to the route are anticipated.
“I think everybody’s looking forward to it all coming back,” said Tracey’s owner Jeffrey Carreras.
More: ‘You’re hurting Black communities’: Second line groups outraged after city announces stricter enforcement of size limitations
In the past, Tidwell says second lines have applied for permits with a number of people far fewer than was intended to parade. Second lines can have their desired amount of steppers and band as long as they ensure their permit application accurately reflects that number.
During the Carnival season, officers work 12-hour shifts, but special events outside of what’s known as a “city roll” require extra duty work, which the city cannot force officers to do. Organizers are responsible for paying officers to work details at such events.
“We’re not trying to ruin this. We’re not trying to be punitive in any kind of way,” he said. “In the past, we’ve done everything we can to let it slide. Where we are now, the reality is the bandwidth we have is different, the staffing we have is different, and frankly the environment is different, and the nature of the spike in criminal activity... we have to be very smart how we deploy our resources, and that means we can’t be as cool as we once were about stuff like that.”
Tidwell says in the spirit of goodwill, if you want a bigger “city roll,” make that apparent on your permit application.
The city says it will continue to try to fill those empty detail spots. If there are changes that will have to be made, an announcement will be made by Friday.
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