Metairie’s oldest Carnival parading group may be heading to Destrehan in 2015.
The Krewe of Zeus has applied for a permit to parade on River Road and Ormond Boulevard in St. Charles Parish during the upcoming Carnival season, according to St. Charles Sheriff Greg Champagne.
The parade would last from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Feb. 7, two Saturdays before Mardi Gras, according to the permit application submitted to the sheriff.
The parade’s proposed route would travel west from Ormond Plantation on River Road to Ormond Boulevard, then north to Greenwood Drive, where it would turn around on Ormond Boulevard and retrace the route.
The permit application says the parade would include floats for as many as 300 people, up to 40 horses and mules, and 100 or more vehicles.
So far, St. Charles officials are keeping an open mind on the idea. Champagne expects to meet with nearby residents to gauge their support for the parade then likely hold a public meeting before deciding whether to issue the permit.
The krewe wants to roll in Destrehan after losing its spot in Jefferson Parish’s 2015 parade calendar following violations of the parish’s 2009 ordinance that governs Carnival parades.
The krewe had just two marching bands in its 2014 parade, three shy of the minimum, and it also had too few floats, parish officials said. Jefferson’s ordinance requires Carnival parades to have at least 10 floats, not including those for the captain, grand marshal or royalty. Zeus’ initial 2014 plans indicated 12 floats, but it rolled with only 11, including those for the king and grand marshal.
Jefferson Parish Community Affairs Director Sean Burke, who is responsible for enforcing the 2009 ordinance, said the rules are in place to make sure krewes reach minimum standards.
While 14 krewes were authorized to hold Carnival parades in Jefferson in 2009, the number has since fallen to 10, he said.
Webb Jay, president of the Ormond Civic Association, said his neighborhood group has yet to decide whether to support the parade, which would be St. Charles’ third and the first in that neighborhood. “We’re still kind of fact-finding to explore the pros and cons,” he said.
Hosting the parade could be “a mixed bag,” he said. On one hand, it could provide “good publicity for the neighborhood and the community,” but it also could create safety and logistical concerns, he said.
Still, if the issues can be worked through, Jay expects the parade could roll in St. Charles for years to come.
“My understanding is if all the concerns can be alleviated and the residents are onboard, the krewe is definitely interested in exploring a long-term relationship with St. Charles Parish,” he said.
Parish Council member Wendy Benedetto also agreed that the proposal, on its surface, could help residents get better acquainted with neighbors.
“It could help get our community back together,” she said. “We’ve lost a lot since (Hurricane) Katrina. Nobody knows their neighbors anymore. We’re all so busy, and we’ve got different people in and out.”
Benedetto said she does not expect the parade would feature double-decker floats, common among the so-called superkrewes that roll in New Orleans.
“I’d love to see it stay right here in St. Charles Parish, but do we need to change where it’s going, or how it’s working? It sounds good,” she said.
Brian Landry, chairman of the Metairie Carnival Club, which runs the Zeus parade, did not return a call for comment Monday.
Meanwhile, Burke said Jefferson officials wouldn’t automatically shut the door on the krewe returning to Jefferson after 2015 if it chooses to spend the year in St. Charles.
“If they’re in compliance, it’s up to the (Parish) Council if they wish to allow them to parade again,” he said. “It’s just a wait-and-see game right now.”
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.