Krewe of Argus Incident Ignites Debate on Mardi Gras Float Safety Regulations

A recent incident during the Mardi Gras parade has sparked a significant conversation about safety regulations for float riders. During the Krewe of Argus parade in Jefferson Parish, a dramatic event unfolded as a man fell from the second story of Float #20, named “Oceans Away.” Captured by a WWL Louisiana camera, the footage showed the man flipping in the air before landing on the ground. Miraculously, he was able to get up minutes later and walk away, seemingly not seriously injured according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO).

The incident, which occurred near the intersection of Causeway and Veterans boulevards, has led many to question the safety measures in place for parade participants. Witnesses reported seeing the man running across the top of the float before his fall, and crucially, he appeared not to be wearing a safety harness. This detail has drawn significant attention, given the strict harness requirements for float riders in New Orleans, which mandate that all riders must be anchored by a harness or safety belt.

However, the regulations in Jefferson Parish, where the Krewe of Argus parade took place, are notably more lenient. Here, only riders under 12 years old, those not standing on the floor of the float, and those on floats with safety rails shorter than 40 inches are required to wear harnesses. Furthermore, the parish’s rules do not specify the type or features of the required “safety harness” or “safety device.”

The disparity in safety regulations between Jefferson Parish and New Orleans has surprised many, including Parish Councilmember Hans Liljeberg, who represents the district where the fall occurred. He expressed his astonishment upon discovering that harnesses are not mandatory for all riders in Jefferson Parish, a fact he was unaware of until the incident came to light.

The Krewe of Argus does not mandate harnesses for its riders, as confirmed by Co-Captain Lawrence Chehardy, who declined a formal interview on the matter. This policy is within the current legal framework of Jefferson Parish but stands in contrast to the stringent safety measures enforced in neighboring New Orleans.

The fallout from this event has initiated a dialogue on the need for uniform safety standards across all Mardi Gras parades, regardless of the parish. Councilmember Liljeberg has vowed to address the issue, stating his intention to ensure Jefferson Parish adopts an ordinance requiring harnesses for all float riders, similar to that of New Orleans.

This incident serves as a critical reminder of the importance of safety measures during the high-energy and often chaotic Mardi Gras celebrations. As the community reflects on the near-tragic event, there is a growing consensus on the need for comprehensive and uniform safety regulations to protect all participants in these beloved cultural festivities. The dialogue initiated by this incident may lead to significant changes in parade safety ordinances, with the potential to set a new standard for Mardi Gras celebrations across the region.

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New Container Terminal Deal Ignites Potential Shift in Louisiana Port Dynamics

The Plaquemines Port Harbor and Terminal District has taken a significant step forward in the evolving landscape of global shipping and logistics by signing a preliminary agreement with APM Terminals, a major player in the terminal operator sector. This collaboration aims to establish a new container terminal on the West Bank of Plaquemines Parish, marking a potential shift in the competitive dynamics among Louisiana’s ports.

APM Terminals, headquartered in The Netherlands, boasts a substantial global footprint with 66 container terminals under its operation, including locations in major U.S. cities. The agreement with Plaquemines Port represents an ambitious venture, involving a 30-year land lease with options for extension. The planned infrastructure includes a 200-acre initial phase featuring on-dock rail facilities and a berth for 14,000-TEU vessels — among the largest in the maritime industry, made possible by the expansion of the Panama Canal.

This deal highlights a strategic move by Plaquemines Port to diversify and expand its capabilities beyond its traditional bulk cargo operations, venturing into the increasingly dominant containerized shipping sector.

The project, estimated at a $500 million initial investment, is anticipated to be privately funded, although specific funding sources remain undisclosed. The potential for expanding the site up to 900 acres underscores the ambitious scope of the partnership, aiming to enhance terminal and logistics activities significantly.

This initiative represents a revival and reformation of prior plans for container terminal development in the area, focusing solely on the collaboration between Plaquemines Port and APM Terminals, thereby streamlining the development process.

The announcement arrives at a time of heightened competition among south Louisiana’s deep-draft ports, particularly as the Port of New Orleans progresses with its $1.8 billion Louisiana International Terminal project. This environment raises questions about the state’s port strategy, which critics argue lacks coherence and statewide oversight, leading to internal competition and reduced competitiveness on a national and global scale.

The planned container terminal in Plaquemines Parish could shift regional dynamics, positioning the port as a significant player in container shipping and potentially altering the distribution of maritime traffic and logistics operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

The partnership between Plaquemines Port and APM Terminals presents an opportunity to modernize and expand Louisiana’s port infrastructure, aligning with global trends towards containerized shipping. Wim Lagaay of APM Terminals expressed optimism about the project’s potential to transform the greenfield site into a major gateway for big ships entering the U.S.

As the project moves from intent to action, it will be crucial to monitor its impact on regional port competition, state economic strategy, and the broader landscape of international shipping. The development promises to bring jobs, enhance logistical efficiency, and solidify Louisiana’s role in global trade networks, provided it navigates the complex interplay of local interests and global market trends effectively.

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Port Orleans Brewing on the West Bank

In the heart of Gretna, a wave of excitement and anticipation swept through the community as new businesses prepared to make their mark on the West Bank. The bustling town was about to undergo a transformation, becoming a hub of vibrant activity that promised to draw East Bankers across the Crescent City Connection.

One of the standout additions to Gretna’s landscape was the expansion of Port Orleans Brewing, a well-known Uptown brewery that was bringing more than just beer to the community. Port Orleans president Don Noel unveiled plans for “a lifestyle development” that would redefine the area. The brewery’s new space would feature a beer garden and tap room, a cold brew coffee shop for those seeking a different kind of buzz, and even a traditional barber shop for those looking to freshen up.

But that was just the beginning.

The development aimed to cater to a diverse range of interests, including an old-school arcade for gaming enthusiasts and an outdoor space designed to host markets and movie nights. The crown jewel of the establishment was the full-service Avo Taco restaurant, promising a culinary experience that would surely tantalize the taste buds of locals and visitors alike.

Excitement reached a fever pitch as plans for an additional project on the development’s third floor were teased by Noel. The details were shrouded in mystery, adding an air of anticipation to the grand opening.

Not far from Port Orleans, the century-old schoolhouse building on Lafayette Street was undergoing its own transformation. NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune reported that a new coworking space and a small market were set to open within its historic walls. The addition of more workspace for rent was welcomed news, promising a dynamic environment for entrepreneurs and professionals seeking a collaborative setting.

The schoolhouse building already housed the German-American Cultural Center and Museum, a testament to the rich history of the area. Gretna’s leaders, showing their proactive approach to community development, had reached out to Port Orleans about the available space. Noel shared that the city’s vision to bring economic impact to the West Bank was both inspiring and cutting edge.

“It was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass on,” he declared.

As the grand opening approached, the buzz around Gretna was palpable. New businesses, coupled with recent additions like Dough Nguyeners Bakery and a fresh location for Toast, signaled a renaissance for the West Bank. For those who had grown up in Algiers, the sentiment was clear: “Discover the Magic of the West Bank.”

Gretna was on the brink of a new era, with the promise of a thriving community and a diverse array of experiences that would make the journey across the Crescent City Connection a must for all East Bankers.

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Scales & Ales Resurfaces: A Night of Conservation, Craft, and Celebration

After a three-year hiatus, the much-anticipated Scales & Ales brewfest is set to make a triumphant return at the Audubon Aquarium. This wet and wild event promises not only an evening of entertainment, craft beverages, and delectable cuisine but also serves as a vital fundraiser for sea turtle conservation efforts. As attendees immerse themselves in the festivities, they will have the unique opportunity to explore the recently transformed facility, which remained closed during the challenges posed by COVID-19 and construction activities.

Scales & Ales is not merely a celebration of craft beverages; it is a philanthropic endeavor with a focus on supporting sea turtle conservation. The event’s proceeds contribute to the Audubon Coastal Wildlife Network’s efforts in safeguarding these majestic creatures. As participants revel in the festivities, they can take pride in being part of a cause that goes beyond entertainment, actively contributing to the well-being of marine life.

Beyond its charitable aspect, Scales & Ales offers a night of sensory delights. Local breweries will showcase their craft beverages, providing a diverse and flavorful experience for attendees. The aroma of enticing cuisine from local restaurants will mingle with the sounds of laughter and live entertainment, creating an atmosphere of celebration and community spirit.

One of the highlights of the evening is the opportunity for attendees to tour the renovated Audubon Aquarium. The facility, located at the foot of Canal Street and the Mississippi River, has undergone a transformation, and Scales & Ales provides a firsthand look at its new features. Additionally, guests can explore the Audubon Insectarium, now housed within the same complex, adding an extra layer of fascination to the event.

Since its inception, Scales & Ales has made a significant impact on the Audubon Institute’s education and conservation programs. With nearly a million dollars generated through past events, the brewfest has proven to be a powerhouse for supporting initiatives that promote environmental awareness and wildlife preservation.

The patrons’ event kicks off at 7 p.m., offering an exclusive experience for those looking to delve deeper into the festivities. General admission opens at 8 p.m., allowing a broader audience to join the celebration. Tickets, starting at $100, can be purchased at scalesandales.org, providing attendees with the opportunity to contribute to a noble cause while enjoying an unforgettable night.

As Scales & Ales swims back into action, it brings with it the promise of an evening filled with joy, camaraderie, and a shared commitment to marine conservation. Beyond the thrill of the event, participants can take pride in knowing that their presence contributes to the well-being of sea turtles and supports vital conservation programs. With its return, Scales & Ales continues to make waves, leaving a lasting impact on both the local community and the marine ecosystems it strives to protect.

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