Report from Louisiana: Tragedy at Mardi Gras

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  Mardi Gras season this year has brought both raucous, bacchanalian festivities true to our “laissez les bon temps rouler” mantra, as well as terrible tragedy.

In New Orleans another terrible accident claimed the life of a man attending the Endymion parade Saturday night. As with the accident the previous week in which a woman was killed during the Nyx parade, this accident also involved a tandem float. For the unfamiliar, tandem floats usually belong to large super krewes and are multiple floats joined together by some kind of hitch. Some can be several sections and be as long as 300 feet.

In the accident Saturday night, Joseph Sampson, 58, jumped up to catch a throw, landed on some beads, slipped and fell, and somehow ended up under a float. His friends tried to grab him and pull him out while another tried to alert the driver to stop, an impossible task over the noise. As with the accident the previous week, the parade was terminated.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has now issued a directive that no more tandem floats will be allowed, thus causing krewes with tandem floats to scramble and make adjustments so they can roll in these last few days of Mardi Gras season.

Of course, some people agree and others disagree with the order. Everyone recognizes the tragedy of the deaths but contend that accidents are bound to happen and perhaps error in judgement should be considered. The woman the previous week was supposedly attempting to cross over between the two floats, got tangled and tripped over the hitch, and went under the float. No safety studies have been done or formal reports on either accident and tandem floats have been in use for many years. The disgruntled are calling Cantrell’s order a “knee jerk” reaction in an attempt to bolster her low popularity rate.

Here in Shreveport, in northwest Louisiana, we have three large parades over two weeks. Some portions of the parades have barricades but it would be almost impossible to place barricades along an entire parade route and it is unclear whether that would have averted the situation in NOLA. Many of these parades wind through neighborhoods. At some point you can’t legislate complete and total safety.

Mardi Gras is a major money maker for NOLA and Louisiana tourism. It is unlikely, as tragic as these events are, that any significant changes will take place; tandem floats may be back next year after safety studies, or whenever there is a new mayor.

In the meantime, roll on.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

One other thing About Democrats/Socialism and Bernie

There is one other point I’d like to add to yesterday’s post concerning the Democrats, Socialism and Communism. I freely confess this this conjecture but based on my observations it’s correct.

For quite a while Democrats leaders have seen the direction this party had been going, particularly in the schools. They saw the moves away from discipline, the rejection of the rule of law, the moves to re-write American History to into anti-american history, the removal of values from the system, and the whole nine yards. They saw all of these things happening at the same time that the GOP began to embrace all of these things.

Moreover the Democrats were in a position on the local, state and federal level to do something about it. To make sure that American values were still taught in American schools, to make sure that American History was not re-written to favor our enemies to make sure that “enforcing the law” was not a dirty word and to make sure that the inmates were not running the asylum.

They did not.

Why? They were afraid.

They feared that unless they embraced these socialist, communist elements would become an effective 3rd party only with numbers beyond the libertarians. Moreover with the abandoning of Americanism and religion Democrats were even more a coalition party of many different groups some with vastly different cultures and priorities united only in their rejection traditional American Judeo-Christian culture. So the loss of any one of those part might put them in the minority forever.

And the loss of power, influence and cash that such a cleansing of these elements in the party even if it was only for a few years, was more than the party could bear. Much better to pay the lip service and advance some of their agenda, after all, as long as they voted the way that secured power and influence for the leadership it didn’t matter what these fringe elements thought.

This could work as long as their numbers were small, but as schools and universities moved unchecked ever farther to the secular left those numbers continued to grow to the point where Democrats are no longer saying to socialist/communists that they much embrace them if they want any chance of power, but it’s literally becoming the other way around.

The rise of Bernie puts give the democrats three unpalatable choices

  1. Embrace the whole Socialist/Communist agenda in public
  2. Walk away & concede this cycle in the hopes that the Bernie Crowd McGoverns itself away
  3. Walk away and take the structures with them and hope that enough Judeo-Christians Americans who voted GOP because there was no place else for them to go might embrace a party that embraced traditional Democrat values without rejecting American Judeo-Christian values

None of these choices are going to be fun for the left but if they had not taken the small hit years ago they would not be in this position today.