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NEW ORLEANS – NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison laid out new changes to the Uptown parade route along Canal Street at a press conference detailing the city’s preparations for Mardi Gras 2018 this year.

When parades get up to Canal Street on St. Charles Avenue, they will now turn right toward the Mississippi River instead of turning left toward the lake for three blocks, crossing over on Burgundy Street, and looping back on Canal, which they have traditionally done.

“We’re cutting out the left turn on Canal Street toward the lake and then cutting out the loop toward the river, which allows us to keep the lakebound traffic flowing toward the lake in case there is an emergency,” Harrison said.

The move will keep the traffic flowing North up Canal, away from the river, helping ease congestion.

Only a handful of parades that roll on Mardi Gras Day, including Rex and Zulu, will turn left on Canal and keep to the traditional routes, but they all disband soon after, Harrison said.

“We are putting bollards up on the Canal Street neutral ground at Bourbon Street to protect the parade goers as well,” he said.