The new Carnival ordinances are ready for discussion and from the looks of things they are terrible. What began as a legitimate concern that space-hogging along the parade route was excluding too many people from the party has become a free-for-all prohibition against any complaint anyone could possibly have brainstormed up at one of Latoya Cantrell's St. Charles Avenue tea parties.
All I've ever asked for is better enforcement of the rules already on the books governing ladder placement and obstruction of intersections. And I've taken pains to say that "better enforcement" doesn't mean arresting and citing people left and right. All it really takes is officers along the route occasionally reminding people to be considerate. I've seen this work.
Instead the new rules delve into all sorts of irrelevant minutiae proposing to solve problems that weren't really problems to begin with.
Other new rules being proposed include:
- Unwrapped toilet paper, a Krewe of Tucks favorite, may no longer be thrown from floats.
- Anyone who throws anything at a float or rider can be fined $250.
- “Stink bombs” and snap pops cannot be sold during parades.
- Parking will be prohibited on either side of St. Charles Avenue between Canal and Napoleon or on either side of Napoleon between Tchoupitoulas and Claiborne two hours before or after parades.
- New minimum ages have been set for people riding on floats or carrying flambeaux torches.
Not knowing what the "minimum age" they're proposing is, I can't speak to that provision. But apart from that and the thing about throwing stuff at floats, I don't understand the motivation behind the rest of it.
What is the objection to Tucks' T-P, for example? Aren't readily degradable (or even recyclable) throws precisely the sort of thing we're trying to promote these days? Here's a scene from St. Charles Avenue moments after Tucks has passed.
The T-P streamers typically make their way out of the trees within days. The plastic (toxic?) beads, though, will sit there more or less permanently.
I also don't get the problem with parking on the opposite side of the street. All this prohibition is going to do is cause more grief for local residents who will have to compete with parade goers for even fewer available parking spaces. The only time the opposite side of St. Charles ever becomes congested anyway is during the second weekend of parades. And the reason this happens is that's when the tents show up and push everyone who would otherwise be in the back row of the neutral ground out into the street.
The Snap Pops thing is the most absurd and also the part that most looks like something dreamed up by an Uptown LadyTM at Latoya's tea party. Snap pops are stupid, of course. But a lot of things about Carnival are stupid and chaotic and that's what makes it fun.
Serves us right for ever complaining, I guess.