Ormond residents concerned about property damage, traffic that would come with parade

Some argue that parade will bring joy, business to community

July 22, 2014 at 9:07 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Ormond residents concerned about property damage, traffic that would come with parade
After rolling through the streets of Metairie for more than 50 years, the Krewe of Zeus has now set its sights on a parade through Ormond Boulevard in Destrehan.

The planned parade has caused heated debate between those who live on Ormond Boulevard who are against the parade and others in the parish who support it. St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne will now have to decide whether or not to grant a permit that will allow the krewe to roll through town.

Zeus is eyeing Ormond after Jefferson Parish threatened to revoke their permit after the krewe did not have enough marching bands or floats in its 2014 parade. According to a recent permit application, Zeus wants to hold a nighttime Mardi Gras parade in Ormond on Feb. 7 from 6:20 p.m. until 11 p.m. If granted a permit, the parade will include 300 riders, floats, horses, 100 vehicles, bands, support groups, dune buggies and fire trucks.

The proposed route would take the Krewe of Zeus from Ormond Plantation on River Road west to Ormond Boulevard. The parade will then travel northbound on Ormond Boulevard to Greenwood Drive where the parade will turn around and head back to Ormond Plantation.

“We are still in the midst of considering the application and all logistics including traffic, emergency access, cost to public agencies and, most importantly, the wishes of the people who live on or near the proposed parade route,” Champagne said. “I am keeping an open mind, but my decisions will be weighted heavily by the wishes of the residents in Ormond.”

Nicole Oubre, who lives in Ormond close to where the parade will pass through, said she believes the event will cause destruction to private property.

“This is a neighborhood, not a busy city,” she said. “Those are houses on Ormond, not businesses.”

Jackie Taylor agrees, saying that people chose to live in Ormond knowing that they would go elsewhere for parades and the chaos that ensues.

“There isn’t room to stand safely without invading people’s yards. There is no place for parking cars as well,” she said.

Michelle Simon wants to know who will be responsible for repairing yards and picking up litter after the parade.

“I think a parade such as this is a bad idea in a subdivision,” she said.

However, some in Ormond welcome the idea of a Mardi Gras parade.

Cindy Dempster, who lives in the area, said it won’t be a New Orleans parade atmosphere.

“I would love for a parade to come for me and my children and grandchildren,” she said.

Katie Fund currently lives on Bonnabel Boulevard in Metairie on Zeus’ old parade route. She said she is moving to Ormond in a few weeks and looks forward to a parade rolling through the area.

“We have enjoyed living here and never had a problem with parade goers or trash,” she said about her time in Metairie. “Jefferson Parish cleans up very well and I know St. Charles would too. I think this is a great opportunity and is just one night.”

Councilwoman Wendy Benedetto, who represents the Ormond area, said she has heard from both those for and against the parade. She wants to stress that nothing has been set in stone regarding the parade and that everyone involved is still waiting on input from area residents.

However, she does feel that the parade would be good for the area.

“I think any kind of involvement that brings people and helps businesses is good for the community,” she said. “But we do have people that have moved out here because they didn’t want to be involved in the hustle and bustle. I like parades, but people who don’t like parades don’t think it’s wonderful”

Benedetto said parish officials need to take time to examine both sides of the issue.

“I want to get people in Norco, Luling and Des Allemands who experience parades in front of their houses to speak up and tell us what kind of issues they see,” she said.

Norco hosts a Christmas parade while Mardi Gras parades run through both Luling and Des Allemands. While the parades that run through those towns also pass into neighborhoods, the Krewe of Zeus would roll at night and could potentially be much larger.

Benedetto did add that officials with the Jerusalem Shrine Temple, which is located on Ormond Boulevard, said they would allow people to use their parking lot should the parade permit be approved.

Champagne is urging residents, specifically those that live in the Ormond Boulevard area, to email him and let him know what they think about the parade.

“I am most concerned with what the residents feel about this who live on or near the parade route. This parade will impact not only the residents along the route on Ormond Boulevard but also traffic both vehicular and pedestrian on nearby streets such as Schexnaydre, Villere, Murray Hill, Destrehan, Melrose, Magnolia, Dunleith, Plantation Road, Elmwood, Hermitage, Beauregard, Seven Oaks, Thomas Colby, Devereaux and others. Most of the parking will have to occur on the above streets other than Ormond Boulevard.”

You can email Champagne at gchamp@stcharlessheriff.org.

The Ormond Civic Association has also put a survey about the parade on its website. The survey is only for people who live in Ormond. Visit www.ormondcivicassociation.org for more information.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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