The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office stopped a Corps de Napoleon parade float on Sunday and found that two riders were throwing promotional drug-testing kits with advertising labels in violation of a parish ordinance, according to officials.
Making matters worse, the promotional items were cups designed for the collection of urine samples.
Deputies ordered them to stop throwing the cups.
By Monday, the Metairie krewe had kicked the riders out as members and banned them from returning, Napoleon captain Irvy Cosse said.
Parish authorities intend to review the situation later in the week and decide whether any further action is warranted, Jefferson Parish spokeswoman Kriss Fortunato said in a news release.
Deputies stopped the float after receiving complaints that hard objects were striking paradegoers. The Sheriff’s Office soon learned that the objects were urine specimen cups, Fortunato said.
“Parish ordinance prohibits throws with sharp edges as well as any action by riders that could shock the public,” Jefferson Parish Director of Citizens’ Affairs Sean Burke was quoted as saying in Fortunato’s release. “Here, catching a urine specimen cup was pretty surprising for some.”
A parish ordinance also requires parade krewe captains to preapprove all throws, and that didn’t happen before Napoleon rolled on Sunday, Burke said.
Cosse said Monday that it was not realistic to expect his krewe would check every single item the riders on the parade’s 26 floats took with them. “We do everything we can to control this kind of thing,” including distributing a seven-page list of Jefferson Parish’s rules and regulations for Carnival, he said. “Someone does a renegade act? I don’t know how I can stop that.”
A statement from Jefferson Parish President John Young echoed Cosse’s sentiment that Sunday’s incident was to blame on a small number of riders — not the krewe at large.
“We will take all steps necessary to maintain the family-first culture of Jefferson Parish Mardi Gras, (but) this was poor judgment by a few individuals in an isolated incident,” Young said. “Overall, this is one of our best Mardi Gras seasons ever, and we hope to see more people on the route (for Fat Tuesday).”
Cosse said the two riders who got in trouble Sunday were from Georgia. Neither Cosse nor Jefferson Parish named the riders.