This weekend, Councilwoman Cantrell held another community input meeting regarding her forthcoming revision to the city's Carnival ordinances. The meeting took place during a Saints game which makes absolutely no sense to me. Luckily Uptown Messenger was there to cover it.
One of the thorniest Mardi Gras issues is the placement of ladders, which can often form an impenetrable wall along the parade route. They are currently required to be as far back from the curb as they are tall, and Cantrell’s initial suggestion was to make that distance uniform, at 10 feet, so that officers and perhaps even posted signs could easily point to a “line” that ladders should not cross.I know I'm supposed to be the community scold on this issue but what I'd really like to emphasize is that there should be plenty of flexibility with regard to these rules. There are places where ladders on the sidewalk side are fine. I also think it's ok to bring a grill and some chairs and stuff provided you don't use it to hog up all the territory.
This suggestion proved to be the most controversial Saturday. Several residents said that 10 feet is too far, especially on the sidewalk side, where it would largely rule ladders out. Perhaps a shorter distance could be adopted on the sidewalk side, they said, especially since floats run closer to the neutral ground anyway, leaving more space from the sidewalk.
The biggest problems that I witness at parades every year are:
1) Ladders too close to the curb.
2) Ladders and other difficult to move items blocking the intersection.
3) Ladders chained or roped together to form barricades.
4) Large parcels of neutral ground roped off and impassable.
5) Rows and rows of tents which obstruct even more territory than just ropes and tape.
There are already rules against the first three on that list. I'm not sure about number five but it should be addressed. The key here is reminding people to be considerate of one another. A bit more friendly enforcement of the rules already on the books should probably accomplish that.