Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Shrinking Metairie Carnival

The new Jefferson Parish parade permitting rules do seem kind of ridiculous.
In a statement issued Wednesday (July 15), the deadline to apply for a permit, Zeus' captain apologized to Jefferson residents for not submitting the paperwork and not delivering a parade next year. "The Krewe of Zeus regrets to inform the citizens of Jefferson Parish that a tradition in Metairie which has lasted longer than most of its current citizens' lifetimes will not continue in 2016," the statement says.

"We all have faith that time, as it is inclined to do, will heal all wounds, even those besetting Jefferson Parish Carnival," the statement says, "To that end, the Men of Zeus remain hopeful that one day — or more accurately, night — they will once again parade in Metairie under the Zeus banner."

The clash between Carnival regulators and the krewe's leadership erupted in 2014 when parish officials found too few members in one of Zeus' marching bands -- 30 musicians are required -- and too few floats. Zeus leaders appealed the citations and gained some relief, as a judge agreed the krewe had a sufficient number of floats under what was a described as a vaguely written rule. However, the krewe was still found to have violated the band rule, and as a result it was suspended it from parading in Jefferson in 2015.
And yet every year we hear about how the Uptown route in Orleans Parish is overcrowded.  One strategy for keeping it from getting that way would be to encourage more events of varying sizes spread out over different neighborhoods throughout the city and region. Recent successful models might include non-standard parades like tit-Rex and Chewbacchus which have thrived in New Orleans.  Next year, the Krewe of Loup Garou is planning a small-scale parade through the Irish Channel. 

Granted those events happen in the more heavily touristed parts of Orleans Parish but there are a million ways to celebrate Carnival season. Not everything needs to be Endymion. Maybe Jefferson could do with a little more flexibility.  

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