Carnival’s Most Irresponsible Act

AN ORIGINAL ©MIKE LUCKOVICH CARTOON FOR NEW ORLEANS MAGAZINE

Recently there was an active email discussion between Carnival krewe captains and the police about a proposal by one captain to put a float in parades designed as a target for spectators to throw beads. This reasoning was not to exercise arms but to try to exorcise harm. A growing concern among parade krewes has been the practice of parade-goers flinging beads back at the floats.

Doing so is dangerous. There have been instances of float riders, whose mobility and sight lines are often limited by their position on the float, being severely injured by errant throws returned in their direction.

Throwing at floats is illegal, but it’s a law that many parade-goers, especially those from out of town, are not aware of. We do not think that most people who fling objects back at floats are being malicious. (Well, maybe a few.) More often it’s people caught up in the excitement of the moment as objects whiz through the air.

As strange as the throwback float idea sounds, it has been done before – though always on floats without personnel. At least one krewe has already pulled such a float. Also, Bacchus’ Baby Kong float has historically been bombarded with beads. The problem is that allowing the practice for one float creates the perception that it’s OK for all floats. That is where the danger comes in. (That sentiment was held by most of the participants in the email discussion.)

As parade-goers we need to watch out for those who are throwing back. If you see someone throwing at a float, alert a police officer. Remember that not only are the flingers breaking the law, but also they could hurt someone.

We must add that the krewes have contributed to the problem by tossing bigger beads. We have seen people throwing beads back at floats as a means of rejecting a smaller pair in hopes for something larger. Sometimes the big beads get thrown back, too, and they can be lethal. At some point krewes may need to establish their own moratorium on bead size.

Enjoy the parades. And if throws come your way, just think of them as a gift that should not be returned.

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