The New Orleans City Council today approved new rules regarding Mardi Gras parades, including how those parades are conducted, how people may watch them, and what may be sold at them.
The council wanted to make it clear that when people set up to watch a parade, they can't block access to side streets or where streets cross neutral grounds.
"The primary issue here is public safety," said council member Jackie Clarkson. "When emergency vehicles can't cross a neutral ground because the roadway of the neutral ground is blocked with sofas and barbecue grills, that's beyond the spirit of Mardi Gras. That's dangerous."
Another batch of ordinances dealt with how close to the street parade ladders can be placed. The council passed a rule requiring a standard set-back of six feet.
The council also prohibited the sale of "snap pops," tiny exploding bags that have been popular with some parade goers. They also increased fines for private portable toilets placed in public rights-of-way along the parade route.
Clarkson said the council, first responders, krewe captains and members of the community all worked together to craft the best possible regulations of Carnival.