Offers Gratitude to First Responders, Public Employees and the People of New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu recapped the 2018 Mardi Gras season and thanked law enforcement, public employees, Carnival krewes and the people of New Orleans for helping make it all possible.
“Each year, we look forward to Mardi Gras – the City’s signature event that shows the true culture and flavor of New Orleans,” said Mayor Landrieu. “I want to thank all New Orleanians for their cooperation and enthusiasm about Mardi Gras. I am especially grateful for our first responders – the hard-working men and women of the New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police, New Orleans Fire Department, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services, New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and all of our federal, state and local partners who were all hands on deck throughout Carnival Season.”
In total, about 4,500 dedicated public employees, over 1,200 Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB) employees and over 170 Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport employees served the people of New Orleans. Many of these workers helped with Mardi Gras festivities, working around the clock to plan, protect, execute, and clean up.
Mayor Landrieu added, “A successful Mardi Gras season requires teamwork and I want to thank every City employee who worked hard to keep parades routes safe and clean. I am grateful for those that worked diligently to return our streets to normalcy and cleanliness as soon as possible."
In the coming days, the clean-up effort will continue as parade viewing stands and public portable toilets are removed.
SAFETY – POLICE
New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) provided strong security coverage during the 2018 Carnival Season, from Jan. 27 to Feb. 13. The NOPD was staffed at 100%, with officers moving to 12-hour shifts beginning Feb. 2.
NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said, “We are extremely proud of the hard work of our NOPD officers, and grateful to the community for their support and cooperation. Barring the ugly aberration of a small group of individuals on Mardi Gras Day, we enjoyed a largely safe and peaceful Carnival Season.”
In total, the NOPD made 471 arrests during the 2018 Mardi Gras season, compared to 373 during the 2017 Mardi Gras season. In addition, solid police work and proactive patrolling led to 96 illegal guns taken off the street.
The Real Time Crime Center worked 48 cases, including violent crimes and a suspected Driving While Intoxicated case, during the 2018 Mardi Gras season.
SAFETY – FIRE & EMS
For the 2018 Mardi Gras season, the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) responded to 62 fires, and 1,163 medical and 732 other calls for service including nine working structure fires. The NOFD also inspected 34 parades, which included: 973 traditional floats, 167 truck floats and 319 parade flambeauxs. The Department also inspected 85 mobile food vendors, 12 fixed food vendors for compliance by NOFD. Members worked alongside Sanitation Department personnel, providing traffic safety during post-parade debris removal. NOFD also created a barricade group to manage the positioning and removal of barricades before and after parades.
New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to over 3,000 calls for service over the 10 days of parades, transporting nearly 1,900 patients to local hospitals. The New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) Medical Reserve Corps and American Red Cross operated First Aid stations for 10 days throughout Mardi Gras and provided foot patrols during parades. In total, NOHD assisted 600 people and provided care to 111 people during Mardi Gras, 37 of which were transported by EMS.
For the 2018 Mardi Gras season, the Department of Sanitation utilized over 125 pieces of equipment and more than 850 City workers, temporary workers, and contractors to clean up the streets and neutral grounds following parades each day. All of these laborers worked tremendously hard to return the city streets to normalcy. In general, all routes were cleaned within two hours of the conclusion of a parade.
For the fifth consecutive year, the City used the Mardi Gras clean-up process as an opportunity to provide employment for persons who have been classified as chronically hard to employ. In 2014, the City allocated 50 of its clean-up jobs to these groups each parade night. Due to the continued success of this partnership over the years, in 2018, temporary employment opportunities were provided to approximately 150 persons from the JOB1 program in conjunction with Total Community Action (TCA) and 50 persons from Black Men of Labor (BMOL). In addition to jobs provided during Carnival Season, participants received training on workforce development.
Scott Hutcheson, the City’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, said, “The City’s Sanitation Department and its partners continue to clean routes following parades impeccably and quickly. We are thankful for everyone that helps to meet this goal and their dedication to New Orleans.”
Residents may bring Mardi Gras beads to the City’s Recycling Drop Off Center (2829 Elysian Fields Ave.) on the Second Saturday of each month. The next event, which had to be rescheduled due to Mardi Gras, will be on February 17 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. There are also several local non-profits that accept Mardi Gras beads for recycling.
The City placed 667 portable toilets along the parade routes for Mardi Gras this year, and they are scheduled to be removed by Friday, February 16. The City also issued over 292 permits for reviewing stands, concessions and parking. All City-constructed viewing stands will be fully disassembled by Friday, March 9.
To keep residents and visitors fully informed this Mardi Gras season, the City utilized a text-alert campaign where mobile phone users had the opportunity to opt in for up-to-the-minute alerts sent directly to their mobile devices regarding road closures, parking information, parade schedules, public transit schedules, inclement weather, and critical incidents during Mardi Gras.
Additionally, the City utilized a Mardi Gras Information and Updates website at nola.gov/mardigras. The site provided residents and visitors with safety regulations, enforcement policies, permitting information, and helpful suggestions, including interactive parade maps. The website received over 38,000 views in the 30 days before Fat Tuesday, up from 22,000 in 2017.
In addition to permanent “No Parking” signs posted along parade routes, the City installed approximately 3,000 temporary “No Parking” signs. The City monitored parking very closely so First Responders and the public had clear access to the public right of way and to facilitate the clearing of debris by Sanitation crews following parades.
This year, the City issued 28,015 citations and towed 1,174 vehicles on parade days. In 2017, the City issued 29,561 citations, booted 397 vehicles and towed 729 vehicles on parade days.
Over the Mardi Gras holiday, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport experienced another year of increased passengers traveling through the airport. Over an eight-day period beginning Friday, Feb. 9 through Friday, Feb. 16, the airport expects to have had over 164,000 passengers depart, a 10 percent increase compared to 2017. Over 19,000 passengers were scheduled to depart New Orleans today, Feb. 14, as the Mardi Gras Season came to a close.
At-Large Councilmember Jason Rogers Williams said, "Thank you to our krewes, bands, residents and support staff who make such a great Mardi Gras year after year. 2018 goes down in the books as a beautiful celebration and we're already looking forward to next year."
District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said, “This year’s Mardi Gras celebration was extra special for me and our city. We are celebrating our city’s Tricentennial, a theme depicted by krewes throughout this Carnival season. The weather for Mardi Gras day was picture perfect, and this year’s celebration marked my last as the District A representative.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “It was a true honor and privilege to participate in so many Mardi Gras festivities this year as Mayor-Elect. Like Mardi Gras, the City of New Orleans is constantly evolving. I look forward to moving this city forward together, with the Mardi Gras spirit of inclusion, diversity, creativity and a little fun.”
District C Councilmember Nadine Ramsey said, “As always, our first responders, sanitation department and other city employees have done an amazing job to ensure a safe and enjoyable Mardi Gras for our residents and visitors. The riding and marching krewes, schools, and other participants provided another wonderful year of revelry and entertainment for which we can all be thankful. I am looking forward to a continued dialogue on how we can improve the experience in all aspects, including the recent movement for addressing sanitation and recycling issues.”
New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation President and CEO Mark C. Romig said, “Another successful Mardi Gras has been produced by the city of New Orleans continuing our tradition of revelry and royalty throughout Mardi Gras season. As we celebrate our Tricentennial year, we are grateful to the tens of thousands of tourism industry employees who worked tirelessly through the Mardi Gras season to deliver the best in service and hospitality to both visitors from around the globe and residents who came to New Orleans to enjoy the most iconic of New Orleans festivals. We are also greatly appreciative of the police, emergency medical personnel and members of the fire department for their long hours of dedication for the celebration.”