Final Mardi Gras Parade Plans Release Imminent
With the release of the final Mardi Gras parade plans reportedly days away from the city of Shreveport, discontent is brewing among some Centaur and Gemini krewe members who lament having little to no say in the decision-making process.
The city of Shreveport is just days away from announcing the finalized plans for the upcoming Mardi Gras parades. That’s the word from Mayor Tom Arceneaux’s special advisor Tari Bradford. She says we can expect a big announcement sometime in the next week, or so. And Bradford says Arceneaux is waiting to make any comments until that announcement.
You may recall, controversy has surrounded the two big Mardi gras parades - Centaur and Gemini - for several reasons. First, Police presence has dropped from well over 300 officers on patrol during the parades in previous years to just over 200 back in February of 2023. The second reason: the violence. During the Krewe of Gemini Parade, back on February 18, 2023, two people were shot in separate shootings, one of whom died. That prompted the city of Shreveport and police to decide the parades will start at 2:30 p.m. Instead of 3:00 p.m., so they will finish at dusk, not after dark, for safety reasons.
Mayor Arceneaux also says the new contracts with the krewes include provisions for fines for any members who violate the agreed-upon rules, most notably slowing down the parade, for example. But what has not been told so far is the krewes’ perspectives. That includes Gemini captain Tom Wyche. He recalls being called to a meeting at the mayor’s conference room August 3rd with other Mardi Gras krewe leadership members. Wyche says they were handed what he thought were first drafts of a proposed contract with the city.
“We were under the impression that it was a give and take, look over the contract and get back with us,” says Wyche. “We left the meeting on the 3rd and they immediately pushed the contract out in a press release to the papers and the media and said here’s the new contract. There was no negotiation, no give or take, no working or anything. Then the mayor’s gone on a spiel of saying, ‘everything there, take it or leave it. That’s the new contract. You’re going to have to take it. If you don’t want it then you don’t parade.' That’s the essence of it.”
As a Gemini captain, Wyche says this turn of events was especially difficult to handle, considering they had asked repeatedly for months on end to meet with the mayor --- only to have the terms dictated to them. So, Wyche says being frozen out of the process has left many Gemini krewe members irritated with the city, and the mayor, enough so, according to Wyche, they’ve even considered taking action, or put another way taking ‘in action.’ “A lot of our membership is like, ‘we just need to stay home.’ He doesn’t understand how close he is to not have a parade. He just really doesn’t understand.”
The Krewe of Centaur’s perspective is critical, not least because they’re one of the two parades scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd [along with the African American History Parade]. We have reached out numerous times to Centaur leadership for comment and are still awaiting an official response.