Rain expected to affect Mardi Gras festivities

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

Forecasters expect rain during the week of Mardi Gras, so parade-goers should be prepared for fluctuating start times.

Lake Charles can expect showers and thunderstorms beginning Saturday, which has a 20 percent chance of rain — chances that

will increase into the night, said Jim Sweeney, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

There is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Sunday, 40 percent Monday and 30 percent on Fat Tuesday, he said.

Officials met with Ryan Street business owners and others Wednesday to discuss the weather and upcoming parade details.

“We do have some changes and adjustments this year that we are making,” Mayor Randy Roach said. “As we change downtown with

the Ryan streetscape project, we have to make adjustments from the standpoint of the parade.”

Because of the parade route — which will start on West Mill Street at Lakeshore Drive and continue south on Ryan Street to

Sale Road — parking will not be permitted on Ryan between Mill and Broad streets from 8 a.m. Friday through the conclusion

of the parade Tuesday.

On-street parking will have barricades. Violators will be ticketed, and vehicles will be impounded in accordance with the

city code. Signs will identify “No Parking” zones.

The Mardi Gras holiday Tuesday will

start with the Motorcycles, Hot Rods and Classics Parade at noon. The

Sister City Street

Party, in the 300 block of Pujo Street, will be noon-5 p.m. and

will feature live music. And the Krewe of Krewes Parade will

follow at 5 p.m.

Parades may start 30 minutes early or 30 minutes later depending on the weather, Roach said.

Businesses will remain open, and access

to them will be available throughout the day and up to about 30 minutes

before the

parade. Also, 200 additional traffic barricades have been

purchased for this year’s parades for extra safety. Crews will put

the barricades along the route at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Traffic along Ryan will be restricted

to one lane both ways up to an hour before the parades and will continue

until 4:30

p.m. when the road is closed. Officials said drivers should expect

long lines of slow-moving traffic as well as heavy pedestrian

traffic along Ryan.

Immediately after the Krewe of Krewes Parade, the road will be closed to all traffic between Mill and Sale on Ryan. Crews

will remove barricades and litter from the streets. This will take about two hours.

All street vendors must have the

appropriate occupational permits to serve the public. Permits may be

obtained from the Occupational Licenses Office. Vendors will not be allowed from the Civic Center to Clarence.

Parade Dos and Don’ts

• Do not litter.

• No glass containers of any kind.

• Leave pets at home.

• Leave all valuables at home.

• No open fires in or on vehicles.

• Do not pour hot coals on the ground.

• Stay behind all police lines or curbs.

• Do not run up to or near the floats.

• Do not follow or chase floats.

• Do not throw anything at the floats or float riders.

• Please watch your children.

• Be kind and courteous to your neighbor.

• No bikes, skateboards or roller blades along the parade route.

• Do not obscure sidewalks.

• Bag litter and trash and place it at the curb after the parade.

• Bagged litter and trash will be picked up beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday.