New Orleans Mardi Gras krewes will stick to shortened routes in 2023

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - For the second year in a row, New Orleans Mardi Gras krewes will roll on shortened parade routes due to a lack of NOPD manpower. Krewes will load up and disband in the same spots as in 2022 because the police department is short hundreds of officers.

“It’s really just math. They have to cover a certain amount of blocks with a certain amount of people and they need to reduce the routes to allow that math to work,” James Reiss, Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council, said.

Here are the changes made to the 2022 Carnival season that will likely be in place for 2023:

  • Endymion, Rex, and Zulu parades will remain mostly on their traditional routes with slight modifications.
  • The Krewe of Endymion will not toast at the historic Gallier Hall on St. Charles Avenue. A new location will be announced at a later date.
  • The Krewe of Zulu’s route will stay on the modified route used in 2020 to avoid the Hard Rock site.
  • The Krewe of Rex will start at Napoleon and Carondelet then continue on its traditional route.
  • Uptown parades will start at Napoleon and Prytania.
  • Magazine Street has been removed from Uptown parade routes.
  • All parades that traditionally start on the Riverside of Napoleon Ave., Jefferson Ave., Tchoupitoulas, and Henry Clay will now begin at Napoleon and Prytania.
  • All parades that traditionally start at Napoleon and South Saratoga will now begin at Napoleon and Carondelet.
  • Parades that start at Holiday Drive and Fiesta Street will start at Wall Boulevard and Holiday Drive.

And as far as asking for more Louisiana State Troopers or help from neighboring law enforcement agencies for the carnival season, Reiss says the NOPD is asking around for that assistance, but those agencies are struggling too.

“I hope that they say yes. I have no idea of that number will increase or go down,” he said. “I know that we’re short and I know that we are more short handed than we were last year. We’re just trying to get back into a position where we can have exactly what we had last year and hopefully one day we can get back to where we were in 2020 and earlier.”

As far as planning goes, krewes are happy to get more of a heads up on the changes this year.

“We know in October, not January and February like last year,” carnival historian Arthur Hardy said. “People will deal with it. The big hope is that by 2024 we can get our routes from 2020 restored and I really think that’s going to happen.”

And with COVID-19 restrictions no more, expectations for Mardi Gras turnout and participation are high.

“All the indications are that this is going to be a banner year, much bigger than last year,” Hardy said.

While Mardi Gras 2023 is going to have to adjust with low NOPD manpower, one other event, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, already pulled out of New Orleans because of that issue.

“Them leaving is disappointing,” Patrick Morrison, president of the New Orleans Track Club, said.

The race announced it won’t be coming back to 2023 because the NOPD could not approve their traditional route through the city, because of the lack of officers.

Now, the 20,000 people who come to town for the marathon as well as Mardi Gras revelers hope that police numbers strengthen so they can get their original routes back.

“They posted on social media that the fact that they couldn’t put on an event that was up to the standards of the Rock n Roll,” Morrison said. “But we will be excited if and when the opportunity comes to us that we get to run in the city of New Orleans again. "

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