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SmashMouth 01-14-2013 11:41 AM

Throwing beads at Mardi Gras floats will remain illegal -- no exceptions
It has been illegal since 1999 for spectators at Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans to throw any objects, even beads, at float riders or other parade participants. It apparently will remain that way.

City Councilwoman Susan Guidry this week withdrew a proposed ordinance that would have made an exception to the ban in the case of parades that include a float at the end of the procession for the specific purpose of collecting beads for recycling. The exception would have covered only plastic beads -- presumably beads that spectators had caught from riders on earlier floats in the same parade.

Guidry said she had thought parade officials were prepared to support the ordinance, which was sought by groups like the Arc of Greater New Orleans, a nonprofit organization that has a major program to recycle Mardi Gras beads. Guidry is a longtime champion of recycling.

However, she said Thursday, as soon as a news story about the proposed ordinance appeared last month, she began hearing complaints from krewe captains and even police officials, who feared that relaxing the ban could lead to problems.

The ban was originally imposed in the interest of safety. Carnival officials said it could be dangerous for spectators to toss objects -- even seemingly harmless beads or doubloons -- at unsuspecting, mask-wearing riders perched on moving floats, especially if the riders had been imbibing liquid cheer before or during their ride.

The ban has not entirely stopped people from tossing beads or other trinkets back at floats or band members, but it apparently has helped control the practice.

Even if the ordinance had passed, it would still have been illegal to throw inherently dangerous objects, such as rocks or bricks, at floats.

The proposed ordinance said the krewe or other nonprofit organization sponsoring a recycling float would have had to notify city authorities in advance that the parade would contain such a unit.

Throwing beads at Mardi Gras floats will remain illegal -- no exceptions |

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