New Orleans Mardi Gras 2012 is under way. City officials have plans in place to make sure it’s safe through Fat Tuesday.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says law enforcement and sanitation crews are ready to handle the crowds. And he’s asking the public for help.
“This is really in your hands. This is an opportunity for us to have a really, really safe time and the best way to do that is to be thoughtful and respectful and to be courteous and to make sure that everybody has fun.”
Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas says he’s looked at last year’s Mardi Gras and will be closely watching what officers are confronting in the crowds.
“We pay very close attention to having police officers in non-traditional looks who are actually looking for those people who come to the parade for the wrong reasons with bad intent. And we find them. And last year we found more than we did the year before and we’ll look again this year, every parade, up and down the route too. It’s just not in the Quarter or on Canal Street. We go up and down the entire route.”
Parades have been marred in past years by shootings. Serpas says officers will be wearing reflective vests to make their presence easily known, and they can quickly respond to 9-1-1 calls. The mayor says the public can help police by being proactive.
“The FBI made a special request that if you see anything that you think doesn’t fit or just for some reason doesn’t look right, walk up to a police officer and tell them.”
Officials are also asking people not to set up furniture on the neutral grounds for viewing, make sure ladders for children’s perches are set far enough back from the street that if knocked over they won’t fall in the path of a float. And don’t throw anything back at the krewes.