Mayor Landrieu Touts 2017 Mardi Gras Successes
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the 2017 Mardi Gras season a success and thanked law enforcement, public employees, Carnival krewes and the people of New Orleans for helping make it all possible.
“Mardi Gras is our city's signature event that transmits the authenticity of New Orleans to the entire world,” Mayor Landrieu said. “Each year, while all eyes are on our city, we come together to do something better than anyone else and that is to celebrate the biggest free show on earth. This year presented a unique opportunity to show the world why New Orleans is the best in the business at hosting large scale events. As Carnival season began, we were in the midst of a tornado recovery and hosting the 2017 NBA All-Star game. Just as New Orleanians always do, we stood up with clear command and control, overcame adversity and continued our cultural traditions. I want to thank the people of this great city for their cooperation and enthusiasm throughout Mardi Gras. I especially want to thank the hard-working men and women of the New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police, New Orleans Fire Department, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services, New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and all our federal, state and local partners who were all hands on deck throughout Carnival Season.”
In total, about 4,500 dedicated public employees, more than 1,000 Sewerage & Water Board (S&WB) employees and 170 airport employees serve the people of New Orleans, many of whom directly or indirectly help with Mardi Gras festivities – working around the clock to plan, protect, execute and clean up, city reps said.
Mayor Landrieu said, “There is a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure a successful Carnival season. Mardi Gras is a team effort, but I want to especially thank the employees of the City of New Orleans who kept our parade routes safe and clean. The success of Mardi Gras also largely depends on the city returning the streets to normalcy and cleanliness as soon as possible, so I thank the people of New Orleans for their cooperation.”
In the coming days, the clean-up effort will continue as parade viewing stands and public portable toilets are removed, city reps said.
SAFETY – POLICE
NOPD provided strong security coverage during the 2017 Carnival Season, from Feb. 17 to March 1, city reps said. Every officer was on duty and working, with a majority of officers either putting in 12-hour shifts in a police district or a minimum of 8-hour shifts along the parade route. During the 12-day period, NOPD officers put in a total of 54,150 manpower hours in 2017 compared to 53,894 manpower hours in 2016.
NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said, "Our entire department came together and gave 110 percent to keep our neighbors, our guests and our streets safe during this year’s Mardi Gras season. I’m extraordinarily proud of their hard work and their commitment, and grateful for the assistance we received from our local, state and federal partners. With their help, we were able to respond quickly and effectively to the incidents that did arise – and to celebrate another successful Carnival season.”
NOPD was complemented by 165 Louisiana State Police Troopers, along with members of partner law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Marshals, St. Bernard Sheriff, St. John the Baptist Sheriff, Kenner Police Department, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, Tulane University Police, LA Probation and Parole and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.
In total, the NOPD made 373 arrests citywide compared to 334 during the 2016 Mardi Gras season. In the NOPD Eighth District alone, which includes the French Quarter, Marigny and Central Business District, officers responded to 250 calls of service and made 289 arrests this year, compared to 275 arrests during the Mardi Gras 2016 season. In addition, solid police work and proactive patrolling led police to taking a total of 39 guns off the street, city reps said.
SAFETY – FIRE & EMS
The New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) responded to 53 fires, 864 medical and 754 other calls for service during the Mardi Gras season, including seven working structure fires. The NOFD also inspected 34 parades, which included: 846 traditional floats, 175 truck floats and 309 parade flambeauxs. The department also inspected 90 mobile food vendors, and 30 tents for compliance. NOFD members worked alongside Sanitation Department personnel, providing traffic safety during post-parade debris removal. NOFD also created a barricade group to manage the positioning and removal of barricades before and after parades.
New Orleans EMS responded to over 3,200 emergency service calls, resulting in a call every five minutes. The New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) Medical Reserve Corps and American Red Cross operated First Aid stations for ten days throughout Mardi Gras and provided foot patrols during parades. In total, NOHD assisted 550 people and provided care to 118 people during Mardi Gras, 28 of which were transported by EMS.
For the 2017 Mardi Gras season, the Department of Sanitation utilized more than 100 pieces of equipment and more than 600 city workers, temporary workers, and contractors to clean up the streets and neutral grounds following parades each day. All of these laborers worked tremendously hard to return the city streets to normalcy, City reps said. In general, all routes were cleaned within two hours of the conclusion of a parade.
For the fourth consecutive year, the city used the Mardi Gras clean-up process as an opportunity to provide employment for persons who have been classified as chronically hard to employ. In 2014, the city allocated 50 of its clean-up jobs to these groups each parade night. Due to the continued success of this partnership over the years, in 2017, temporary employment opportunities were provided to approximately 150 persons from the JOB1 program in conjunction with Total Community Action (TCA) and 50 persons from Black Men of Labor (BMOL). In addition to jobs provided during Carnival season, participants received training on workforce development.
Scott Hutcheson, the city's deputy chief administrative officer, said, “The city's Sanitation Department and its partners continue to meet and exceed expectations regarding the speed in which the routes are cleaned as well as the level of cleanliness achieved. We continue to be very excited about of our partnership with JOB1 and NOLA FOR LIFE. The dedication to the people of New Orleans is commendable, and we sincerely thank them for what they do.”
Residents may bring Mardi Gras beads to the city's Recycling Drop Off Center (2829 Elysian Fields Ave.) on the second saturday of each month. The next event will be on March 11, from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. There are also several local non-profits that accept Mardi Gras beads for recycling.
The city placed 650 portable toilets along the parade routes for Mardi Gras this year, and they are scheduled to be removed by today, Friday March 3. The city also issued over 380 permits for reviewing stands, concessions and parking. All city-constructed viewing stands will be fully disassembled by Friday, March 10.
To keep residents and visitors fully informed this Mardi Gras season, the city utilized an Everbridge text alert campaign where mobile phone users had the opportunity to opt in for up-to-the minute alerts sent directly to their mobile devices regarding road closures, parking information, parade schedules, public transit schedules, inclement weather, and critical incidents during Mardi Gras and All-Star Weekend.
Additionally, the city utilized a Mardi Gras Information and Updates website at nola.gov/mardigras. The site provided residents and visitors with safety regulations, enforcement policies, permitting information, and helpful suggestions, including interactive parade maps. The website received more than 22,000 views in the 30 days before Fat Tuesday, up from 9,000 in 2016.
In addition to permanent “No Parking” signs posted along parade routes, the city installed approximately 3,000 temporary “No Parking” signs. The city monitored parking very closely so that First Responders and the public had clear access to the public right of way and to facilitate the clearing of debris by Sanitation crews following parades.
This year, the city issued 29,561 citations, booted 397 vehicles and towed 729 vehicles on parade days. In 2016, the city issued 31,522 citations, booted 301 vehicles and towed 541 vehicles on parade days.
Over the Mardi Gras holiday, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport saw an eight-year high number of passengers traveling through the airport. Over an eight-day period beginning Friday, Feb. 24 through Friday, March 3, the airport expects to have over 148,000 passengers depart, a 4 percent increase over 2016 and a 46.5 percent increase over 2010. More than 21,000 passengers were scheduled to depart New Orleans on Ash Wednesday, March 1, as the Mardi Gras season comes to a close.
District E Councilman James Gray said, “While we’re partying with our families during the Mardi Gras season, the dedicated men and women who work for this city and state put in long hours to keep us safe, manage traffic, provide emergency services, keep the streets clean and debris-free, and work killer hours to ensure all of our city operations run smoothly. We couldn’t put on the world’s greatest free party without these unsung heroes. We owe them our appreciation and gratitude.”
Mark C. Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation said, “We are deeply grateful to the tens of thousands of tourism industry employees who worked tirelessly to deliver the best in service and hospitality to both visitors from around the globe and residents who came to New Orleans to enjoy the most iconic of New Orleans festivals. We are also greatly appreciative of the police, emergency medical personnel and members of the fire department for their efforts to ensure a safe and secure celebration.”
Stephen Perry, president and CEO of New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau said, "The city's hotels were packed for Mardi Gras with great weather and a joyous spirit combining for a superb weekend. We broadcast to the nation's great talk shows reaching over 8 million potential new customers from our balconies on St Charles Avenue, celebrating Zulu and Rex and trumpeting our unique reaffirmation of life, family and neighborhood and community organizations and spirit.”
Proteus Krewe Captain said, “On Lundi Gras evening, the members of the Krewe of Proteus were blessed with great weather and brought their parade along the Uptown route. The crowds were some of the largest in recent memory and were as enthusiastic and receptive as ever. Our floats were pulled on the same wagon wheels that have been used since the inception of our parade over 136 years ago. The riders threw beads, sovereigns, cups, footballs, blinking tridents and many other items to parade goers. A special throw was one that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the sovereign. Proteus cherishes its long standing relationship with the City of New Orleans and has already begun planning and looking forward to Feb. 12, 2018 when it takes to the streets again.”