Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
It’s time to line the streets and let the good times roll.
The Krewe of Krewes Mardi Gras Parade returns for another afternoon of fun, smiles and lots and lots of beads as the annual parade takes place at 5 p.m., Saturday, through the streets of downtown Orange.
The yearly event, sponsored by the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, has been a growing tradition in Orange County and has enjoy continued success as thousands of area residents line the streets hoping to catch beads, trinkets and toys.
The parade route will still traverse the streets of downtown Orange, but the route has been slightly altered from previous years.
The parade will begin and end at the staging area near the City of Orange Boat Ramp on Simmons Drive. The parade will leave the staging area and travel onto Green Avenue, where it will make a left turn onto First Street.
The parade will continue and then turn left onto Front Street, which has been closed for construction for many weeks but is being reopened just for the parade this Saturday.
The floats will continue down Front Street and then turn left onto Eighth Street, which is different from previous years. The parade will turn left onto Division and travel to 10th Street, where it will then turn right and continue to Green Avenue.
The parade participants will turn right again onto Green Avenue and continue strait all the way back to Simmons Drive and the staging area.
“We started talking about the parade and its route about two months ago,” said Jay Trahan, Director of Economic Development for the City of Orange. “We created an action plan and crews will be moving the construction fence line to the south of Front Street between First Street and Fifth Street to accommodate the parade. They will be doing this up until noon, Saturday.”
Trahan said this section of Front Street will only be open for the parade on Saturday as work crews will remobilize on Monday morning, Feb. 4, and begin replacing the fence line into its construction zone.
“We still have a lot of heavy work to do on Front Street for the Riverfront project,” Trahan explained. “And with the work in other areas, we had to make sure the route could accommodate the floats because of the wide turns they have to make. This is why we decided to go down Eighth Street to Division and to 10th Street instead of straight down Front Street. The turn was just to tight at Front and 10th.”
Construction on much of the Front Street area should be completed by the time Mardi Gras returns in 2014, and this should only enhance the Mardi Gras parade experience.
“We are hoping the parade works out pretty well this year,” Trahan said in regards to the altered route. “Maybe next year we can partner with the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce and expand the event with entertainment or something.”