February 5, 2013
Chief Ronal Serpas
New Orleans Police Department
715 S. Broad Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
RE: ENSURING SAFETY OF PARADEGOERS THROUGH INCREASED ENFORCEMENT OF MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES
Dear Chief Serpas:
We are now in the midst of another Carnival season in New Orleans-one of the most exciting times of the year for visitors and residents alike. This year’s festivities, as in the past, will bring thousands of revelers to the streets of District B and many will line parade routes with ladders, chairs and other instruments in violation of municipal ordinances.
I have heard extensively from constituents who live along the Uptown parade routes who are exasperated by the lack of enforcement of municipal ordinances that ban the placement of certain household items on the neutral ground, the cordoning off of public property, obstruction of intersections and the placement of ladders too close to the curb.
I am writing to request that the NOPD enforce compliance among paradegoers of the ordinances designed to ensure public safety and avoid the public confrontations over public space that have marred the parade season in the past. I look forward to working with the department to develop to a strategy for this and future Carnival seasons.
Please feel free to contact me directly about this issue or have a member of your staff Contact Mason Harrison, who is the policy advisor Working on this issue for my office. Thank you for your attention to this matter and the department's nonstop commitment to public safety during this very busy time of year for New Orleans police officers who have performed in exemplary fashion during Super Bowl XLVII and Carnival 2013. I look forward to partnering with you.
Councilmember, District B
I should note also that last Sunday afternoon, we witnessed NOPD asking people to remove their chairs from the middle of the intersection of Third and St. Charles. I think the rows of impassable chairs are, along with the large tents, the worst obstacles that people put up out there. So a tentative round of applause for NOPD too. Thanks, also, to Gambit for highlighting this issue a few weeks back.
Of course we all know the second weekend is when things get really hairy. We'll see how that goes.