SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Krewes of Gemini and Centaur are set to meet next week with the City of Shreveport to talk about how to pay for the security needed to roll in February.
Mardi Gras is months away, but planning for the massive events is a year-round endeavor, and security along the parade route is a major expense.
“I been in this krewe since 1999 and we never had to pay the city for security,” Krewe of Centaur Captain Ricky Bridges said.
But the krewes’ ten-year agreement with the city in which the city agreed to pay for police and EMS services for the parades expires in December, and Bridges is not sure how those costs can be covered.
“We just feel that if we were to have to pay any kind of money, that it is going to be detrimental to our krewes. We just can’t afford that kind of money they are asking for.”
Shreveport police provided officers for both parades the last time they rolled in 2019. Interim Police Chief Wayne Smith says it costs the department around $80,000 for the Centaur parade and $64,000 for Gemini.
“It takes quite a bit. As you know, the route is quite lengthy and in past years, we have staffed up to nearly 300 officers around the parade route and as you know, staffing with that many officers at that overtime rate can get quite expensive.”
The Shreveport Police Department is already dealing with a shortage of officers and resources, but Smith says the final decision on whether the city will come through for the krewes won’t be up to him.
“That’s an administrative decision for the Mayor, CAO and others involved to talk about. I would not think that I could get that many people to work without being compensated for the effort because it is an all-day event.”
Both krewes pitched the idea of having the parade in Bossier City, but that idea was shot down.
“After much deliberation and discussion, the administration and City Council agree that it is not in the best interest of the citizens of Bossier City to host Mardi Gras parades in 2022,” Mayor Tommy Chandler said in a statement Tuesday. “Given the time constraints, public safety and budgetary concerns could not be adequately addressed. Talks were left open for future seasons. The City of Bossier appreciates the Krewes’ understanding and look forward to future discussions.”
Bridges says representatives of both krewes will be meeting with Mayor Adrian Perkins on Tuesday.
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