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Tandem floats banned after 2nd fatality in New Orleans Mardi Gras

By
Allen Cone
Spectators watch a parade participate in the Krew of Endymion. This float was made by Kern Studios, which has been a part of Mardi Gras history since 1932. File Photo courtesy Kern Studio
Spectators watch a parade participate in the Krew of Endymion. This float was made by Kern Studios, which has been a part of Mardi Gras history since 1932. File Photo courtesy Kern Studio

Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Tandem floats have been banned from parades through the remainder of Mardi Gras this year in New Orleans after a second person died.

On Saturday night, a man was struck at the Krewe of Endymion parade by a tandem float. On Wednesday, a woman was killed at the Nyx parade. In both cases, the victim was trapped between the first two sections of the float and then crushed underneath it.

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In the tandem setup, two or more floats are connected together by a hitch and pulled by one tractor.

"For the remainder of the 2020 #MardiGras season, tandem floats - multiple floats connected together and pulled by one tractor - will not be allowed," NNOLA Ready, the city's emergency preparedness campaign announced in a Twitter post.

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Each float will require its own tractor, NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said Saturday night. "I think we have to do our due diligence that this is a safe Carnival for everyone," he said.

Five parades are scheduled for Sunday in New Orleans and two in nearby Metairie. Mardi Gras continues through Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday.

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"Our hearts break for those lost and for their loved ones, and our prayers and deepest sympathies are with them -- and will be with them in all the days and months ahead," New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement. "May our people take this moment to uplift our brothers and our sisters, to mourn as one and to move forward, together."

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In Saturday's incident, the unidentified man was struck by Float No. 14, a tandem float in three sections. The float, which is called "Captain S.S. Eddie," is named for krewe founder Ed Muniz.

Is is the same one that struck and killed an Endymion rider in 2008 -- the last fatality -- as the parade was starting to disband outside the Superdome.

In the latest incident, one witness told NOLA.com the man jumped while trying to catch a light-up throw, then landed on more beads and slipped under down Canal Street en route to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

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At 7:25 p.m., officials announced the Float No. 13 would be the last float of the procession, halting 23 other floats and marching bands,

The Endymion parade, which is one of the most popular and one of the most family-oriented parades, takes place in the Mid-City neighborhood.

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Nearly all of Endymion's 37 floats are tandems. The longest float in any Carnival parade has nine sections and measures nearly 300 feet.

In 2017's Krewe Endymion parade, a drunk driver injured dozens when he hit two cars with his pickup truck before running into the crowd. The driver went to prison and was released in July 2018, NOLA.com reported.

Endymion is a figure from Greek mythology.

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