NEW ORLEANS — A man was struck and killed by a Mardi Gras float during a raucous Saturday night street parade in New Orleans. As a result, he is the second person in just a few days killed along a parade route during this year’s Carnival season, authorities said.
The man was fatally injured just before 7 p.m. as the popular Krewe of Endymion was rolling, New Orleans police said in a statement. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office was to release his name and cause of death after completing an autopsy and notifying his family, Fox News reported.
Consequently, the remainder of Endymion’s parade was discontinued Saturday evening. Police said 13 floats had already gone ahead when the accident occurred with the 14th float in the formation. Hence, remaining floats along with marching groups that followed, were re-routed from the accident scene on Canal Street.
According to New Orleans Police Department, first responders quickly arrived on scene, and tweeted notifications for the mass of people to avoid the area.
The float, with its gaudy lights still twinkling, was cordoned off by police on horseback and on foot. All around, streets were strewn with tossed bead necklaces and trinkets thrown from the floats, along with other party debris. Suddenly, the festive atmosphere turned somber and had taken hold of members of the parade group, TV stations reported.
The fatality occurred days after the death of a 58-year-old woman who — witnesses said — was run over by a parade float Wednesday night, the Associated Press reported.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Saturday night that the south Louisiana city was grieving.
“To be confronted with such tragedy a second time at the height of our Carnival celebrations seems an unimaginable burden to bear. The City and the people of New Orleans will come together, we will grieve together, and we will persevere together,” Cantrell said in a statement. “Our hearts break for those lost and for their loved ones, and our prayers and deepest sympathies are with them.”
Wednesday’s fatality had occurred during the parade of the Mystic Krewe of Nyx, an all-female Carnival group. Witnesses said the woman, New Orleans native Geraldine Carmouche, had apparently tried to cross between two parts of a tandem float and tripped over a hitch connecting the sections.
It wasn’t immediately clear if a tandem float was involved in Saturday night’s fatality, but city agency NOLA Ready tweeted that tandem floats would not be allowed for the few days remaining in the 2020 festival season. Each float will require its own tractor, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said.
The deaths also come just a year after a car sped into a bicycle lane near a parade route, hitting nine people and killing two bicyclists not far from where the Krewe of Endymion formation had just passed. A man identified as the driver was subsequently charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.
Before this year, the most recent Carnival float-related fatality in Louisiana happened in 2009, when a 23-year-old rider fell from a float and in front of its wheels in Carencro, about 120 miles (195 kilometers) west of New Orleans, according to Fox.
In 2008, a rider getting off a three-part float after the Krewe of Endymion parade in New Orleans was killed when the float lurched forward and the third section ran over him, police said.