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There has been a lot of discussion over the past several weeks concerning Mardi Gras in the Ark-La-Tex.  More specifically, discussion about the two largest parades that roll in Shreveport, the Krewe of Gemini, and the Krewe of Centaur parades.

If you aren't familiar with the situation here's a quick recap. The City of Shreveport wants to make some changes to both the parade routes, as well as the time the parades roll, hoping to end the parades before dark.

One of the adjustments is an earlier start time of 2:30 in the afternoon. Mayor Tom Arceneaux and other city leaders have also proposed shortening the route to begin the Krewe of Gemini and Centaur at Clyde Fant and Stoner rather than in downtown Shreveport. 
 
Another big change is to move the date of the Krewe of Centaur from the Saturday February 3rd date. Mayor Arceneaux says the reason for this change is there is already a parade (African American Parade) scheduled for that day and we are not able to handle two parades in the same day with the current staffing." He says that parade has been rolling on the first Saturday of February for 35 years. The two parades have rolled on the same day before, but this year, the mayor says the city is simply too short staffed to handle both.

City officials cite public safety as the main concern.

KEEL News recently spoke to Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser about the Shreveport Mardi Gras situation.  The Lt. Governor was pretty adamant about not moving the parade dates saying that it would impact Louisiana's international tourism efforts.

I just got back from Australia and New Zealand, and we've got people excited about coming to Mardi Gras in North Louisiana. They'll be flying into Dallas, renting a car, and coming in for Mardi Gras. Well, they're already making plans... if you change the dates of those parades, you're going to set our international tourism back because these people are already making plans to come there and enjoy those great parades and we don't want to have them show up and find out that the parade has been changed to another date.  So it's very important that we stay [with] the schedule that we committed to when we went overseas to sell these events.

When asked if he told the mayor that, Nungesser replied:

We've delivered that message, and I'll be coming up there to meet with the mayor... I've been in contact with Stacy [Brown] over at the tourism [office], and the captains of the krewes, but I'm actually coming up there in a few weeks and I'm going to sit down with the mayor and see whatever I can do to make it work. We've got to keep Mardi Gras on schedule, we're expecting a big influx of out of town guests and they spend money, and it's a great opportunity for us to grow family friendly, safe, affordable Mardi Gras in North Louisiana.

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