Parade death opens discussion about Mardi Gras safety

People killed by floats is rare, councilwoman warns against overreaction

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
February 20, 2020 - 12:46 pm
Fatal float crash
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The death of a 58-year-old woman, crushed between the two parts of a tandem float at the Nyx parade has many asking questions about carnival safety.  

A prominent Mardi Gras historian says incidents like this are very rare.

"This hasn't happened on a parade route, according to my records, in almost 40 years," Mardi Gras Guide Publisher Arthur Hardy said. "It was 1981 when a three-year-old was crushed by a float."

He says that there was also a float rider killed as the Endymion at the Superdome more than a decade ago.

"In '08 there was somebody who was getting off a float outside the Dome, and it moved, and they were killed."

In 2004, a woman fell from a viewing area in the Dome during the Endymion Extravaganza and later died.

In each case, he says the celebration continued.

"So let's hope tonight we get back in the spirit, the weather cooperates and we can party on."

 

New Orleans City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer has also heard some concerns about safety measures.

"My heart goes out to the family, and it was a tragic accident," she said.

She cautions, however, "We can't do a knee jerk reaction... we need to take a step back and see what makes the most sense."

The councilwoman questions the suggestion that people be kept away from the floats going forward.

"Is that really it?  Do we barricade the entire parade route?"

Gisleson Palmer says she can't even imagine what that would cost and how many people it would take.

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