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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

'We have bolt cutters': New Orleans officials begin Mardi Gras enforcement

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 3:40 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN

The Krewe of Chad’s days are numbered.

New Orleans’ Department of Parks and Parkways will begin “constant sweeps” rounding up and throwing away tarps, tents and other personal effects left on neutral grounds and green spaces more than 24 hours before parades begin. City workers will not be cataloging what they collect, only trashing them. Starting today, city workers have begun removing ladders along parade routes. Chained-up items and spray-painted or roped-off areas “mean nothing,” says Parks and Parkways Director Ann Macdonald.

“You’re creating a barrier. We have bolt cutters,” she said. “You can’t reserve a piece of public green space. That paint means absolutely nothing.”
According to the city's guide to Mardi Gras rule enforcement, ladders and other items shouldn't be placed on sidewalks and neutral grounds before 8 a.m. on parade days, excluding Fat Tuesday.

Closed tents on parade routes have been upgraded to what Mayor Mitch Landrieu calls a “homeland security threat" following a 2017 Carnival incident involving a discharged firearm inside a portable toilet. New Orleans Police Department Chief Michael Harrison said officers will be ordering people to dismantle and remove tents.

New Orleans officials debriefed the public on the city’s 2018 Mardi Gras preparations Jan. 30, reminding people to keep ladders, canopies and other objects at least six feet from the curb. Ladders also can't be roped or chained together, and private portable toilets also are banned from public spaces (or their owners/renters could face a $250 fine).

Louisiana State Police will bring in at least 165 uniformed and plain-clothes officers to the New Orleans area by Friday, Feb. 9. New Orleans Police Department staff “will be on the streets at 100 percent capacity” beginning Feb. 2, with officers working in rotating 12-hours shifts.

NOPD also debuts its Bourbon Street Rapid Response Team, extra lighting on parade routes and in the French Quarter and bomb-sniffing K9 units. This year's Carnival also is the first large-scale events testing its Real Time Crime Monitoring Center, where FBI and Louisiana State Police also will be stationed to help monitor strategically placed cameras along parade routes and crime “hotspots.”

Landrieu repeated his frequent warning that "if you’re outside and in the public, you ought to assume you’re on camera."

Homeland Security Director Aaron Miller says the newly installed red-and-blue flashing cameras will help "make folks aware of public safety" efforts, though the cameras' presence won't change police deployment in those areas.

Law enforcement officials also repeated “if you see something, say something” to police along parade routes. Louisiana State Police also suggested people use its "See Something Send Something" app.
Traffic and parking enforcement also will beef up its presence over the next two weeks. The Department of Public Works will install 2,500 temporary signs throughout the city, and tow trucks will sweep no-parking zones beginning two hours before parades start.

Here’s where you can and can’t park, and how much it’ll cost you:

You can’t park at along the following streets two hours before or after parades:
  • Tchoupitoulas Street between Jackson and Nashville avenues;
  • Napoleon Avenue between Tchoupitoulas Street and S. Claiborne Avenue
  • St. Charles Avenue between Napoleon Avenue and Canal Street
  • You can only park here before 6 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 and two hours after Endymion:
  • Canal Street from S. Carrollton to St. Charles Avenues;
  • N. Carrollton Avenue from Canal Street to Orleans Avenue; and
  • Orleans Avenue from City Park to N. Carrollton Avenues.
You’ll likely be towed and get a $75 fine.

You’ll also be towed and fined for parking on parade routes two hours before and after parades on the published routes.

Parking and vehicle access will be restricted from Friday, Feb. 2 through Sunday, Feb. 4, and again Wednesday, Feb. 7 through 6 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14,

From 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. on those days, all streets leading to Bourbon Street from Royal and Dauphine streets will be closed. Bollards will block all streets leading to Bourbon, which will be a pedestrian mall from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. the night of each parade on its 100-800 blocks.

Parking also will be prohibited in the 700 and 800 blocks of all streets from Iberville to St. Ann streets between noon and 6 a.m. on those days.

Tow crews will be out on all Bourbon Street cross streets, including the 700-800 blocks of Iberville Street, St. Ann Street and the 700 block of Royal Street.

A full list of fines for various parking and traffic infractions can be found here. The good news: the city's impound lots will have extended Carnival season hours.

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