We’re less than two weeks away from Fat Tuesday and just days away from parades Uptown. As the city prepares to enforce new rules and cops prepare to work long hours many parade goers wonder where they are going to “go” when nature calls. WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano explains.
Andrew Shuford comes from the West Bank year after year to parade Uptown. His setup is anything but humble. It includes room and food for about 150 people.
“Last year we did about 150 Cuban sandwiches. This year we are going to do some pastrami pretzel sandwiches and some other stuff, so it’s a big deal for everybody that comes down,” says Shuford.
It’s a big deal Shuford spends months mentally preparing for, but this year he’ll have to get creative. The city is enforcing new rules. Among them, no port-o-lets on public property unless they are city issued. Shuford says his port-o-let is essential.
“If you have to walk across the street to use a bank of four port-o-lets during the parades they’re not getting cleaned, and my father-in-law who is almost 70 comes out and does Mardi Gras with us; what am I going to tell him? To go in to a port-o-let that hasn’t been cleaned in three days,” says Shuford.
It’s a dilemma Superior Seafood is already preparing for. The restaurant on one of the busiest corners Uptown is anticipating bigger crowd of people who just got to go, and they aren’t turning anyone away.
Manager John Michael Rowland says, “We don’t really have a policy. We just ask that you respect others when you come in. We’d love for you to come in and buy a drink or maybe sit down and have a meal, but if you need to use the restroom we’re not going to stop you.”
The Mayor has reiterated the new rules: ladders, tents, grills must be six feet back, no throwing beads at riders, and no port-o-lets on public property.
Shuford says he’ll still be parading, but he’s not giving up his port-o-let. “It’s going to stay in the bed of my truck and were going to park it relatively close so that we can all have the key to it and everybody can use it, and it’ll technically be on private property, and we’re still going to come down and have fun. Mardi Gras doesn’t stop for anybody.”
There is a $250 a day fine that goes along with placing a port-o-let on public property. The city says they’re going to have 700 portable toilettes on the streets. It’s the same number that they’ve provided in the past.