Mardi Gras gets underway this weekend in Lafayette, and the Lafayette Police Department says this is what you need to know about where to go and what to do to avoid traffic congestion, stay safe and enjoy Carnival this year.
Traffic was reduced to two lanes Friday on Johnston Street from Vermilion Street to North College Road and on North College Road to Cajun Field. Barricades will remain in the street until the last parade ends Feb. 7.
They’ll be placed in the streets again on Thursday, Feb. 12, again reducing traffic to two lanes on Johnston Street and North College Road. Barricades will remain in the streets until after the last parade clears out on Mardi Gras day.
Police will close all streets on and around the parade route one hour before each parade begins. On Mardi Gras day, roads on and along the route will be closed an hour before the first parade begins and will remain closed until after the final parade ends and people have left the area.
Both University Avenue and St. Mary Boulevard at Johnston Street will remain open as crossover intersections until each parade is several blocks from the intersection. South College Road at Johnston Street will be restricted to travel south on College Road and west on Johnston Street during all parades.
All parades begin at Pontiac Point at the intersection of Jefferson and Surrey Streets and end at Cajun Field, except for the Children’s Parade.
Emergency command posts
Emergency command posts will be set up along the route at the following locations:
—Fire Station No. 1 at Vermilion and Lee Streets
—Fire Station No. 5 at Johnston and St. Julien Streets
—Lafayette Police Command Bus at Johnston Street and South College Road
—911 Bus will be at Cajun Field during every event but for the Feb. 7 parades
Tips for parents
Police suggest that parents secure a note in the pocket of each child attending the parades that includes the child’s name, address and a telephone number of someone to contact in case the parent and child become separated. The number should be for someone who will be home, not with the parent or child at the parades.
Lost or found children
Lost or found children can be brought to any officer along the parade route or to any command post.
Medical assistance will be available through Acadian Ambulance Service units stationed along the parade route. Anyone needing medical assistance should notify an officer along the route or report to the nearest police command post.
Parking will not be allowed on the streets or sidewalks along the parade routes. The city parking garage on Vermilion Street will be closed to the public. Parking inside the fenced area at the Blackham Coliseum will be limited to floats and people picking up band members and other parade participants.
Handicap viewing is available at the following designated spots:
—500 block of Jefferson Boulevard between South Orange and South Sterling Streets
—Vermilion and Lee Streets in front of the command post
—St. Julien and Johnston Streets in front of the command post
Lafayette Transit System buses will detour from their usual routes an hour before each parade, which is when police will close roads on and along the parade route. Day, night and paratransit service will be closed only on Mardi Gras day. For more information on specific route changes, call LTS at (337) 291-8570.
Prohibitions along the parade route include silly string; animals; rollerblading; whips; glass containers; any product manufactured for the purpose of being thrown against a hard surface or stepped on to make a popping noise such as snaps, pops and cracker balls; flashing or exposing oneself; throwing items back at float riders; and entering the barricaded areas during the parades.