Mardi Gras is one of the largest celebrations held in New Orleans, LA that is attended by thousands of people each year. When the Mardi Gras parades roll, locals and visitors from around the world all compete for the colorful trinkets thrown from each carnival float. With crowds this big, there are always injuries due to pushing and shoving. How can you protect yourself and your family? Here are a few rules that you should follow to insure that your family stays safe and precautions to take for anyone with a medical condition.
Preparations at Home Before the Parade
Before you leave your house, you should document any medical conditions for all members of your family on an index card or piece of paper and tuck in their pockets. Of course you will not be planning to have an accident, but accidents do happen. If you have a diabetic, or a member of the family with a heart condition or even an allergy, all of this information will be helpful to paramedics if someone in your family needs treatment.
Make sure all members of your family or party puts parent’s or emergency contact’s cell phone number(s) on a piece of paper and tuck away in a pocket, sock or bottom of shoe for your children in case they get lost. Also, make sure they know to find a police officer to help them reunite with their family. Parents should call 911 if a child is lost and give a description of the child or children so that police can be on the lookout for them.
Right before you leave, make sure everyone that is going to the parade uses the restroom. Porta pottys are scarce and if you do find one expect a long line and for it to be extremely messy. If you go to a business along the parade route to use the restroom, expect to pay.
Make sure you follow all the rules of parking during the carnival season. Some of the common rules are:
Do not block any streets, intersections or resident’s driveways.
Do not double park or park on medians in the center of the road.
At the Parade
Respect the barricades. The barricades are there for YOUR protection. If you need to cross the street, ask an officer first.
Ladies should not bring large purses. The crowd will be jammed together and it will be easy for someone to slip a hand in your purse and take your wallet. Instead, ditch the purse and put your cash and ID in a front pocket of your jeans.
Stand back away from the curb. The rule of thumb is to stand back the distance equal to your height. Of course, this rule is not followed and is why short people have trouble seeing the floats.
If you are bringing a ladder to a parade that allows them, make sure it is secured. This is not recommended because of safety issues and falling off the ladder, especially children.
Do not try to follow the parade or run along the side of a float.
Do not throw things at a float or people riding on a float.
Rules for the French Quarter
There are some rules that are specific to the French Quarter that will land you in jail. They are:
Do not expose body parts to the crowd or to the floats. This rule applies to both men and women. This includes ladies flashing their breasts and men dropping their pants to expose private parts.
Do not urinate in public. As noted before, be prepared to pay local businesses to use their restrooms.
Metal and glass containers are not allowed in the French Quarter due to possible injury of self and others.
Source: WDSU: Police Issue Safety Tips for Mardi Gras