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Tragedy Strikes as Mardi Gras Parade-Goer Killed

Posted in Mardi Gras Injury Attorney on February 21, 2020

This past Wednesday, February 19, somewhere around 9pm, a woman was struck and killed by a Mardi Gras parade float along the Nyx parade route. According to news reports, the incident occurred just a few blocks from the start of the parade, when the victim tried to pass between two sections of a tandem float. The tragedy cast a dark cloud over the final week of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The Nyx parade, the largest of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras with more than 3,000 krewe members and upwards of 80 floats, was cancelled amid press conferences from the city and parade organizers.

For roughly 150 years, Mardi Gras in New Orleans has featured floats and “flambeauxs,” persons who walk the parade carrying torches to light the route. Over the years, floats have evolved from simple decorated horse-drawn carriages to the huge, ornate custom-made floats of today. Krewes put months and months of work, and thousands of dollars, into creating uniquely-themed floats each year as they compete to put on the biggest and most awe-inspiring parade. Floats play a major role in the Mardi Gras experience with hundreds of riders throwing beads from them to jubilant parade-goers.

Regulations Governing Mardi Gras Parades

Regulations govern the size, speed, number, and design of Mardi Gras parade floats, as well as require all krewes to register and insure them. In 2014, Mardi Gras parade regulations were updated by the New Orleans City Council to, among other things, improve electrical and fire safety. New regulations also create safer standards for float riders, including mandating harnesses for all riders and safety seats for young riders.

Just this year, the City Council passed updated regulations governing “walking parades” during Mardi Gras. These include new guidelines for krewes about what riders can throw from a parade float and for parade-goers regulating “camping” along parade routes. The new rules also limit the number of “elements,” marching bands, dancers, or any group that is not playing a direct safety role, in front of the first float and in between floats. Presumably this rule meant to address safety concerns involving floats and nearby walkers.

Hidden Dangers of Parade Floats

New Orleans Mardi Gras is a raucous affair. The chaotic mix of float riders, parade viewers, dancing and music can create a recipe for disaster. Mardi Gras draws around 1,000,000 visitors to our city each year. But these huge crowds, music and drinking can lead to disaster.

As parades slow down along their route, large floats can seem almost like fixed entities, and crossing between them can seem like a harmless endeavor. These are huge floats with lots of riders on them, and they make their way in relatively slow fashion along their route. However, these floats can move faster than one might guess from their size. It can be incredibly difficult to predict when one might lurch forward, and their sheer mass makes them incredibly dangerous to pedestrians. The average Mardi Gras parade float weighs 10 tons and measures 50 feet in length, but newer tandem floats are much larger. The largest of these belongs to the Endymion parade and is a whopping 330 feet long which is nearly a football field in length.

The irregular designs of floats also present a danger. Modifications and decorations can mean float operators may have a really difficult time seeing the ground directly in front of them. Imagine driving a tractor trailer with an extension jutting off its front end through an area crowded with pedestrians who may have limited visibility and a limited ability to see their surroundings due to masks as well as the impairment that comes with overindulging in alcohol. Tandem floats mean drivers have an entire area of limited or zero visibility in which a pedestrian could wander in front of moving tires.

Our tips for a safe, fun Mardi Gras urge parade-goers to never cross police barricades and to always observe signs and police instructions. Amid all of the raucousness, it’s essential to exercise caution when encountering potential hazards. It’s the best way to ensure you and your fellow parade-goers enjoy a joyous and safe Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Hurt at Mardi Gras? Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured during the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, you owe it to yourself to contact a skilled personal injury attorney right away. You may be confused about who is at fault and how serious an injury may be. Let our experienced legal team at the Law Office of John W. Redmann help you navigate this difficult time so you can focus on recovering.

Schedule a consultation today and get legal guidance to help you resolve your personal injury claim with the best possible outcome for you and your family. Call (504) 500-5000 today to reach the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., or use our convenient online contact form.