The Jefferson Parish Council on Wednesday allocated $25,000 each to two Carnival krewes that one councilman said are key to helping lure tourists to Jefferson Parish.
The two awards bring to $85,000 the total that the parish has given to krewes this year to help defray the costs of their parades.
Unanimously and without discussion, the council Wednesday approved awarding the funds to the krewes of Centurions and Caesar, each of which will parade through Metairie this year.
Councilman Dominick Impastato abstained from the vote on the money for Caesar because he is a member.
Both resolutions tout the funds as a way to assist the krewes with expenses related to "the running of a Carnival parade in Jefferson Parish." Caesar rolls on Saturday and Centurions on Feb. 9.
On Jan. 10, the council approved awarding $10,000 to the Krewe of Adonis, which rolls in Terrytown, and $25,000 to the Krewe of Athena, which rolls in Metairie. Those measures were sponsored by Councilmen Ricky Templet and Mark Spears, respectively.
Councilman Paul Johnston, whose district includes Harahan and part of the West Bank, authored the measures directing the funds to Centurions and Caesar.
"I'm trying to help the clubs," he said. "These clubs are dying."
The krewes reached out to him, he said.
The parades in Metairie are one of the main ways that the parish lures tourists and their dollars, Johnston said. "We've got to help Mardi Gras in Jefferson Parish."
Parish Finance Director Tim Palmatier said the money for the krewes will come from council members' district funds.
The problems facing suburban krewes have been going on for some time, said Arthur Hardy, an authority on south Louisiana's most famous celebration.
"Most suburban krewes are struggling in terms of membership and finances," he said. He said the main culprit is the large number of parades in New Orleans.
"It seems that everybody wants to parade on St. Charles Avenue," Hardy said. "There's a lot of opportunity in New Orleans."
Johnson said he hopes that the Jefferson parades will help build on the parish's Family Gras celebration, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Veterans and Causeway boulevards.
That event drew more than 110,000 visitors in 2016, according to statistics provided by Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken, in whose district the East Bank parades roll.