Dear Mayor Landrieu,
Congratulations on another successful Mardi Gras. I hear next year should be even bigger and better considering we’re also hosting the Super Bowl and it will happen smack in the middle of Mardi Gras. I, however, won’t be venturing out much, if at all, next year for the same reason I haven’t for the last twenty or so years. Mardi Gras is just not what it used to be and I’ve had enough.
I heard on the radio this morning that you plan to come up with a way for the neutral ground space to be shared more amicably among those who insist on bringing shelter and other things that take up valuable space and those who just want to show up and have a good time. Good luck with that. I’m still waiting for the rule (law?) about ladders to be inforced. It might’ve been inforced for the first year or two after being created, but you’re deluding yourself if you think it’s always enforced. Try never enforced. I get that the police have more important issues to deal with while on parade duty – namely a shooting right on the parade route – but acting like any new rules/laws you enact will make any kind of difference is a waste of time. There is no one to enforce them.
The other problem I have with Mardi Gras is how it’s all now crammed into a week’s time. I remember when I was young (25-30 years ago) Mardi Gras began on January 6th and went through to Fat Tuesday, with parades a full two weeks prior to Fat Tuesday. As I am sure we are close in age, I’m quite sure you remember this. If we spread Mardi Gras out like it used to be, then in the event of inclement weather, such as we had this year, there wouldn’t be a horribly massive pile up all on one day for the make up rides. Rather than allowing new organisations to tell the City when they’re going to parade, let the City tell the organisation when they will parade. All of the old krewes who have been around for 50 or more years should be allowed to stay on their traditional nights, but newer organisations – like Orpheus – should be moved. What makes Harry Connick, Jr. so special that he can just drop his krewe anywhere he likes? Granted, he’s been parading for twenty years, now, but he should not have been allowed to parade on Lundi Gras night. That privilege should have remained Proteus’ alone. With so many parades on Sunday, I wonder how many people actually stayed through the end of Bacchus? I know where I watched it, near Lee Circle, people started leaving long before it was over. I’m sure it was due to exhaustion of being out there all day, not because Bacchus is a horrible parade.
I doubt these things will ever be considered, but I voice my opinion none-the-less, for all the good it will do.
One tired New Orleanian