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Safety Tips to Keep Your Mardi Gras in New Orleans Safe 

Posted in Mardi Gras Injury Attorney on February 10, 2020

New Orleans Mardi Gras is a singular phenomenon, when our city truly comes alive and shows her colors in all their richness, brilliance and wildness. Mardi Gras brings together neighbors from all walks of life and visitors from all over the world to enjoy the sights, sounds and flavors that only New Orleans can offer.

Whether you’re preparing for your neighborhood second line or planning your spot along the Endymion parade route, while you’re looking forward to the revelry, remember to plan also for the safety of your group.

“An American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans.” — Mark Twain

When Tragedy Has Struck at Mardi Gras in New Orleans

In general, New Orleans Mardi Gras is a safe, if over-the-top, affair. For the roughly 1,000,000 visitors who flock to our city for the celebration, the greatest risk they face is getting hit by errant beads or splashed by the contents of a Go-Cup from one of the many bars along parade routes. Still, tragedy has struck in years past and it’s important to keep in mind more serious risks.

In 2017 and again in 2019, tragedy struck along the route of the Endymion parade, one of Mardi Gras’ largest and most important spectacles which takes place the Saturday before Mardi Gras and culminates in a big party at the Superdome. Both incidents involved drunk drivers. In the first, a 25-year-old very intoxicated driver (with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit) became impatient with traffic along the parade route and plowed into a crowd of parade-goers injuring 32 pedestrians. The driver was found guilty of several charges but served just six months.

In 2019, another very drunk driver again frustrated with traffic and driving aggressively careened into a bike line and plowed through two groups of cyclists along the Endymion route, injuring seven and killing two. The 32-year-old driver was sentenced last October to 90 years in prison. The city has since vowed to increase protected bike lanes, to strictly enforce traffic laws along parade routes, and to prosecute DUIs to the fullest extent of the law.

Gun violence that has occurred in recent years around Mardi Gras has added to safety concerns. Last year, the killing of a bystander, a local nurse, the Sunday before Mardi Gras shook the French Quarter. She was killed on Bourbon Street by a stray bullet fired by a patron who had an altercation with a security guard, after she had spent the day at the Uptown parades.

These tragedies underscore how safety should always be a consideration as you step out for Mardi Gras.

Tips for a Safe Mardi Gras in New Orleans

  • Plan ahead. Travel with a group whenever possible–this makes Mardi Gras both funner and safer. Mardi Gras is all about overindulgence, but if you’re headed out with friends, make sure that at least one member of your group is designated to be the sober(-ish) level headed friend who will look out for potential dangers, interrupt bad decision-making before it becomes an issue, and make sure folks in your group are safe if something goes wrong. Better yet, volunteer to be that person–you never know; you could be the hero. Discuss what to do and where to meet up in the event of an emergency or if someone gets separated from the group. Plan plenty of time to get to and from your destination, and dress weirdly and wonderfully–but also with the weather and the amount of time you’ll be on your feet in mind.
  • Observe common sense precautions for large crowds. Don’t wear expensive jewelry that could get lost or snatched during a crowded parade. Only bring what you need and keep it close during your Mardi Gras adventures. Leave big purses and bulky wallets at home and keep what you do bring somewhere secure (e.g. front pockets or bra). Observe all posted pedestrian rules and police instructions. Never cross a barricade and exercise extra caution when crossing streets.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If something feels unsafe, trust your gut and get yourself and your group out of there right away. And alert law enforcement if you see or suspect criminal activity. There are many police officers along major parade routes, but we can all help keep Mardi Gras safer for everyone. Watch out especially for erratic drivers or belligerent parade-goers who can be a threat to everyone’s safety.
  • Know the etiquette of Mardi Gras. There is a set of informal rules for Mardi Gras parade walkers and riders that make these wild and chaotic events more fun and friendly for all involved. They include not throwing beads at float riders, not “camping out” and saving spots on the neutral ground, and not putting people on your shoulders or using ladders next to curbs. Most are common sense, but it is a good idea to brush up on them. Avoiding a major Mardi Gras faux pas could be the difference between a great parade experience and an easily avoidable confrontation.

Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer in New Orleans Today

If you have been injured during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it is so important to know your rights. Legal elements of negligence, liability, and responsibility–which are complex to begin with–are especially complicated during this chaotic time of year. Your injuries could be the result of third parties unaware of their role or who just do not care.

A skilled personal injury attorney in New Orleans can help you understand your case, help you decide if you want to pursue it, and finally help you recover money for your damages if disaster strikes you or a loved one during Mardi Gras. Schedule a consultation today by calling (504) 500-5000 to reach the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., or use our convenient online contact form.