Looking to halt a new trend in New Orleans, City Hall has issued a statement asking Mardi Gras revelers to please, please, please stop reserving spots along the parade routes by using body outlines that resemble those found at murder scenes.
All along the parade routes in Orleans Parish this past weekend, passersby could see dozens of body outlines on the neutral ground — all presumably holding spots for parade goers hoping to snag prime locations for the festivities.
Local authorities initially believed the increase in body outlines could be attributed to the city’s typical crime issues.
“I’m so used to seeing dozens of murders every day here [New Orleans] that I didn’t think anything of the increase in outlines. Sure, it would have been significantly more murders than usual, but, really, what’s usual anymore?” said Sgt. Chris Caden, a crime scene investigator for the New Orleans Police Department. “I just thought one of my colleagues had gotten an early start that day and had drawn them up. I was ready to get to work.”
Holding a spot for Mardi Gras on public property with rope, furniture, or other any kind of barriers or markers is prohibited. Even if the parade goers camp out in their spot, the law restricts all citizens from altering city-owned grounds in any way or form.
“I got a citation last year for using washable spray paint and rope to mark our area,” said Kurt Vega, who for the last 10 years has hosted a big party on the neutral ground on St. Charles Avenue in anticipation of Bacchus.
This year, Vega said he plans on using a body outline to stake his claim.
“They can’t tell if my outlines are the real thing or if the ones next to them are. And by the time they figure it out, we’ll be long gone.”
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, whose office released the statement earlier today, said he is disappointed people would stoop so low as to use murder markers to hold a piece of ground for a parade.
“It’s absolutely disgusting,” said Landrieu. “Our investigators no longer can tell which body outlines are real and which are fake. So, I’m asking all parade goers to please not use outlines to save spots. Our police officers already have enough murders to investigate.”