NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Interim Superintendent Michelle Woodfork and Sheriff Susan Hutson today jointly announced that the funding, agreements and personnel are in place to facilitate the safe restoration of all traditional parade routes for official Mardi Gras krewes for Carnival 2023.
“As we reflect on the safe, fun and friendly 2022 Carnival Season, the City of New Orleans is committed to continuing that momentum in 2023 to ensure yet another successful Carnival Season,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “The returning of our beloved Mardi Gras parades to their original routes symbolizes the great cultural, economic and historical significance Carnival Season has for our great city. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is truly a one-of-a-kind event, and I am grateful for the cooperation and collaboration across multiple City departments and all public safety agencies statewide to create a safe environment for our residents and visitors to fully enjoy all the festivities and traditions this Carnival season has to offer.”
This historic announcement benefitting the New Orleans community was made possible through the cooperation and hard work of:
- Mayor Cantrell and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Gilbert Montaño providing the funding needed for additional law enforcement personnel to supplement the New Orleans Police Department’s (NOPD) coverage of parade routes;
- Interim Superintendent Michelle Woodfork providing the leadership and coordination to support the tactical deployment of law enforcement supplementing coverage along the parade routes; and
- Sheriff Huston deploying several Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO) deputies, in addition to recruiting outside deputies and law enforcement personnel from other Louisiana jurisdictions to work Mardi Gras details
“The New Orleans Police Department’s priority is ensuring that our officers, citizens, and guests are safe throughout the Mardi Gras season,” said Chief Woodfork. “This year’s collaborative initiatives with our law enforcement partners across the state ensure that we are able to keep everyone safe while restoring our historical traditions.”
“It has been a privilege to work with our partners at City Hall and NOPD to finalize logistics to ensure all parading Krewes can safely return to their traditional routes,” said Sheriff Hutson. “I believe in preserving traditions. That is why my team and I have worked diligently over the past two weeks to secure enough deputies from our agency and sheriff’s offices statewide. We want to thank our law enforcement partners who have stepped up to support this effort to restore this Carnival tradition for the Krewes, our residents and the larger community.”
The City of New Orleans and OPSO officially entered into a $950K Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) last week that will provide the vehicle of funding for outside law enforcement agencies to work the necessary details to restore all official Mardi Gras krewes to their traditional routes. In addition, through the work of CAO Montaño, NOPD officers will be paid at parity with the law enforcement officials who will be supplementing existing personnel.
“On behalf of all 35 krewes represented by the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council, we applaud the leadership, hard work, and cooperation demonstrated by Mayor Cantrell, Sheriff Hutson, and Chief Woodfork to make this a reality for the New Orleans community,” said Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council Co-Chairs Elroy A. James and James Reiss III.
“The Mardi Gras season embodies the magic of New Orleans. It allows us briefly to look past our everyday challenges – from trash collection to potholes – and revel in tradition, with immeasurable benefits to residents and businesses,” said Councilmember Lesli Harris of District B. “This is especially true in District B, where so many of our parade routes are. I’m proud to have worked with Mardi Gras krewes, CAO Montaño, Interim Superintendent Woodfork, and other City leaders to restore the full routes this year, bringing them back to our front porches and small businesses. I’m particularly grateful to NOPD officers, who will be both on the routes and in our districts ensuring public safety. Laissez les bon temps rouler!”
Parades have a significant economic impact on New Orleans neighborhoods. Restoring traditional parade routes is important for the small businesses, and individuals employed by those businesses, along the affected blocks.
The most recent study of the economic impacts of Mardi Gras, performed by Tulane University professor Toni Weiss in 2014, found its total impact – both directly and indirectly – on the New Orleans economy to be more than $465 million. That study also found that while the City incurred $5.9 million in government expenditures attributable to Mardi Gras, Carnival-related tax revenues flowing to City entities totaled $17.6 million.
This example of effective coordination among New Orleans leaders and agencies can serve as a template for major events, such as national sporting competitions and large-scale festivals and concerts, both in this community and for other cities facing staffing challenges.
The City’s ability to fully restore its parade routes is a testament to the resiliency of the people of New Orleans and State of Louisiana as a whole.
“We are so pleased that everything has been resolved to provide security that will allow all Krewes to parade on their original routes,” said Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. “This will certainly allow more residents and visitors to experience all that Mardi Gras has to offer. I’m looking forward to record breaking numbers in New Orleans and throughout the State of Louisiana for Mardi Gras.”