Wednesday, January 02, 2013



RTA says  Carnival activities will take place at their accustomed venues.

As Carnival parades prepare to roll down St. Charles Avenue in the coming days, one crew is making way for those other krewes.

Workers have spent the past several months on a preventative maintenance project to replace crossties, track supports that are hidden under the grass, on the St. Charles line.

That work has reached the neutral ground between Euterpe and Josephine streets, leaving it a muddy mess, with heavy machinery at various spots along the avenue and a place unsuitable for parade-goers.

Regardless of how it looks now, RTA officials say, the area will be cleared in time for the crowds that will gather for the Krewes of Oshun and Cleopatra, the first parades in Orleans Parish, on Jan. 25.

"How it looks now," is pretty messed up. On New Year's Eve, Menckles and I took a midnight stroll along the neutral ground. There is a pretty nice view of the downtown fireworks from between Jackson Avenue and just about Felicity Street. That also happens to be where everything is pretty well torn up. RTA says it will be back together in time for Phunny Phorty Phellows to ride the streetcar in just 4 days from now. From the looks of things that would be an accomplishment.

Update: Maybe the NFL can chip in for whatever costs RTA may have incurred scheduling this work stoppage. It wouldn't be the first time somebody asked

Some parading organizations say the change comes at a big cost.  "There's a major impact on the Mardi Gras clubs, in my estimation, anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000," said Sam Scandaliato, captain of the Krewe of Pontchartrain.

Scandaliato's krewe is set to roll on January 26.  And he said having to roll so soon after the holidays has some out-of-town float riders skipping this year. He said participation this year is down about 10 percent.

"I think the clubs on that first weekend should be compensated in some degree by the NFL," said Scandaliato.

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