After more than two weeks of parades, parties, and eccentric masks, New Orleans is preparing for the last day of Mardi Gras on February 17 with enhanced law enforcement presence and security measures. As the Inquisitr recently reported, both attendees and law enforcement officers are readying for the Mardi Gras finale following a fatal shooting on Thursday, February 12.
Events scheduled for Monday include the Proteus and Orpheus parades in New Orleans’ Uptown district. Proteus is one of Mardi Gras’ oldest parades, with the initial celebration taking place in 1882, and features a Greek mythology theme. Similarly, Orpheus is based on Greek gods, but is a much younger celebration as it began in 1993.
Both parades will be held on February 16, giving law enforcement and attendees a light day before the last day of Mardi Gras kicks off. Edward Branley of GoNOLA recently reviewed some little known facts about the 6-week celebration, including its inception in Mobile, Alabama, and its roots in Carnival, a much older event seen mirrored in cultures across the globe since the 15th century.
The Times-Picayune website commented on the widespread celebration of Mardi Gras, with a list of cities re-creating the street party, including Dallas, Chicago, and Brooklyn, New York. Try as they might, however, no other city has been able to capture the essence of Mardi Gras like New Orleans, with its daily parades, unending street celebrations, and elaborate costumes.
The presence of law enforcement will be felt during the final 48 hours of Mardi Gras. During Valentine’s Day weekend, state troopers arrested six male suspects charged with possession of methamphetamine, psilocybin mushrooms, and cocaine, among other drugs, NOLA reports. As Col. Mike Edmonson stated after the arrest, “Citizens and tourists will continue to see LSP support for the NOPD and the City of New Orleans.”
An all-day affair, the final Mardi Gras event includes nine different parades beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, at various locations around New Orleans. The culmination of Mardi Gras welcomes more than 1 million tourists to the area, increasing the likelihood of crime occurring. As local news station KPLC reported earlier this month, local law enforcement has been preparing for an uptick in arrests during this season.
In an effort to keep locals and tourists safe, law enforcement will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. “They’re trained to spot [impaired drivers] so no matter what your Mardi Gras plans are, if it involves alcohol, your best bet is to find a sober designated driver,” Lt. Col. John LeBlanc commented.