As the first major weekend of the carnival season approaches, Sheriff Craig Webre announced the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office's plans for Mardi Gras parades and offered safety tips for those planning to attend. A total of 16 parades will roll in Lafourche Parish during the 2014 carnival season, beginning with last Sunday's Krewe Des Les Petite Lions in Golden Meadow, and concluding with a slate of four parades on "Fat Tuesday," March 4.
"Mardi Gras is a unique time for our deputies," said Sheriff Webre. "Our Patrol Division, for example, usually responds to complaints, but Mardi Gras affords them the opportunity to see people having fun and to greet citizens they might not otherwise encounter. It serves as a reminder of the incredible communities we serve and work so hard to protect."
Deputies will be assigned to every parade throughout Lafourche Parish, assisting local police departments with parades in municipalities. Deputies will be helping with the flow of traffic and the parade itself, as well as responding to emergencies, public complaints and incidents along the parade routes. Most deputies will be driving their units in the parade itself, but citizens will also see deputies on motorcycles, bicycles, all-terrain vehicles, and even boats as the LPSO Water Patrol provides support during parades in the southern area of the parish. The Mobile Command Vehicle will also be utilized as a base of operations for several of the larger parades.
"We realize people enjoy parades in Lafourche Parish because of the family-friendly atmosphere, and we want to help preserve that by providing a large presence at each parade," said Sheriff Webre. "Our hope is to deter criminal activity and peacefully resolve any issue that arises, ensuring everyone can continue to enjoy the parade." Sheriff Webre said a crew of trustees (inmate workers) is also assigned to clean up the parade routes following each parade due to beads, trinkets and trash lining the roadsides.
Sheriff Webre also offered these safety tips related to parade attendance:
- Write your child's name, address and phone number on a tag inside their costume or clothing in case they get lost, and ensure they know to find a deputy immediately.
- NEVER throw anything at floats, float riders or anyone else participating in the parade.
- NEVER allow children in the street, and never stand or walk in the path of the parade.
- NEVER allow a child to retrieve toys or beads in the in parade path. While not recommended, anyone retrieving throws between floats should do so quickly and retreat safely back to the viewing area.
- Do not allow children to eat candy or sweets thrown from floats before inspected by an adult.
- If using a ladder with a seat for small children, place the ladder at a safe distance from the street, and ensure there is constant adult supervision.
The LPSO Patrol Division is also being proactive when it comes to DWI enforcement. Division Commander, Captain J.P. deGravelles, has released a list of individuals with active warrants for Contempt of Court stemming from DWI charges. The list includes anyone with such a warrant issued from January 2012 to the present.
"A previous DWI offender who fails to show up for court and answer for that charge is likely to repeat the offense," said Captain deGravelles. "By publicizing this list, we hope we will increase our success in locating these individuals in an effort to keep our highways safe, especially during the carnival season."
Anyone whose name appears on the DWI-related warrant list should turn themselves in at the Lafourche Parish Detention Center or the South Lafourche Sub-Station, or make arrangements to turn themselves in by calling (985) 532-2808 to speak to a deputy. A current database of all active warrants can be found here.
Citizens can also anonymously submit the location of anyone on the list via Bayou Region Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-743-7433 or by texting "GIVEATIP" plus your message to 274637. Tips can also be submitted using the TipSubmit Mobile application, online at www.crimestoppersbr.org. Please note, however, that tipsters are only eligible for cash rewards when information leads to a felony arrest.