May I assume that Jefferson Parish is so flush with funds that its public servants can stuff public cash into the pockets of private carnival organizations? Or are we seeing parish councilmen forgetting their role as the shepherds of our wealth? The Jefferson Parish Council perpetuates the sham that parades are the mainstays of “Metairie tourism,” an oxymoronic term if there ever was one. I am a happy resident of East Jefferson, and I am pleased to see the success of Family Gras. But when I want to see a Mardi Gras parade, I usually go Uptown. When it is over, I leave the trash and noise and traffic and muck and crime there as I return home.
Each Metairie parade jams the main traffic artery of Metairie, preventing shopping at Lakeside and dining at the many restaurants in the area. The general non-parade use of a wide swath of the commercial and entertainment businesses comes to a halt. Stores along the parade route must close. Public buses stop. Sales tax is correspondingly reduced. Put another way, we residents of Jefferson Parish continue to pay in many ways for having Metairie parades. I doubt if the sales of cotton candy and popcorn from street vendors make up for this loss.
While I am not opposed to having these parades, I must observe that they have rolled for many years without this financial assistance. And although other Metairie krewes have folded, these survivors enjoy larger crowds because of that. Our public funds are for public benefit, not the enrichment of private citizens. Stop wasting our money.
As another weekend of nasty weather in New Orleans threatens another slate of Mardi Gras parades, a change in venue might also be on the table…
Peter M. Meisner