Ways to keep safe, stay smart during Mardi Gras: first aid, fines, transportation

Cailan Rourke and Brandi Doyal, Contributing Reporter and Print News Editor

Mardi Gras season is once again sweeping New Orleans. As festival-goers crack out their sparkly heels and sequined fedoras, remembering to keep these rules in mind will make sure the Mardi Gras season is festive, fun and free of violation fines.

The New Orleans City Council passed new ordinances regarding Mardi Gras and behavior during the parades. New Orleans Police Department and Tulane University Police Department will enforce both the old and new ordinances. 

Parking and Transportation

According to the new regulations adopted Jan. 23, parking on Napoleon Avenue between Tchoupitoulas Street and South Claiborne Avenue or on St. Charles Avenue between Napoleon Avenue and Canal Street is prohibited during the two hours before and after a parade.

While parking on side streets is still allowed, New Orleans safety violations and fines will still be in place. One can reach the Parking Violations Bureau for information towed vehicles at 504-658-8284.

No parking is allowed in the French Quarter until 6 a.m. Wednesday. If students find themselves downtown, they should make alternative transportation plans for returning to campus. The St. Charles Avenue streetcar line will provide service during parades, but it will be replaced with buses from Louisiana Avenue to Canal Street starting two hours before parades and lasting until two hours after parades. Taxis are often difficult to find during Mardi Gras. Tulane Transportation Services recommends scheduling a ride using taxi companies’ smartphone applications.

Parade Regulations

Throwbacks, or throwing objects at a float or participant in the parade, will carry a $250 fine per violation, and police officers will not issue warnings on the first offense.

Privately owned items such as coolers, tents, ladders and grills must be at least six feet away from the curb. These items may not be placed at street intersections, or on the curbs of public streets during a parade. Ladders may not be chained or roped together and must be structurally sound.

Sectioning off private areas in any manner with ropes, tarps or chairs is not allowed and may result in the items being confiscated or the responsible party being fined. Snap and pop fireworks and stink bombs are also not allowed to be sold or used during parades.

Privately rented portable toilets are now banned from public property, including the neutral ground, without written consent from an appropriate governmental agency. Any party that does not comply will be charged $250 per day.

The City of New Orleans will be providing 650 portable toilets for public use, including at the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles avenues. A map of the toilet locations can be found here.

Public indecency, including flashing during parades and using the bathroom in public, is punishable with jail time and can carry a fine up to $1,000.

Personal Care

First aid stations will be provided along the parade routes. On Saturday, the stations will be located at the intersection of Orleans and N. Hennessey avenues. Sunday through Tuesday, there will be first aid stations at the intersections of St. Charles Avenue and Felicity Street, and Canal Street and Carondelet Street.

Tulane Emergency Medical Services will also be active during Mardi Gras. Students can call TEMS at 504-865-5911 or the after-hours Student Health Center nurse at 855-487-0290.

Students who call for emergencies will be granted medical amnesty only by Tulane University Police Department and TEMS. Under this system, the Office of Student Conduct will not charge students for possession of a controlled substance or possession of alcoholic beverages in violation of the Tulane alcohol beverage policy. 

TUPD and NOPD will enforce all of the rules and regulations listed above. These departments are also a resource and will be able to assist with any emergency situations.