As you make your way to and from the many parades throughout our region, think of the people who are making sure you can have a fun and safe time with your families and friends.

Those are the police officers and other emergency workers, the people who put in all the extra time and effort – planning, preparing and carrying out all the extra work that, when all goes right, many of us don’t even notice.

When anything does go wrong, those people are there to react, minimize the damage and help everyone involved.

For these people, Mardi Gras is not a time for enjoying the parades as much as it is the hectic culmination of the days, weeks and months spent getting ready for this very moment.

If they tell you to back up, it’s not because they are picking on you, it is because they are trying to make sure you and the parade participants are safe.

“It’s almost like going through a checklist,” said Thibodaux Police Cpl. David Melancon. “We take previous years into account when we look at security, crowd control. We try to place officers based on previous history. ... When you mix large crowds, excitement and alcohol, you may have some disturbances, but typically nothing major.”

One of the major dangers is our own behavior. And that, in far too many cases, involves excessive drinking.

If you are riding in a parade, you greatly increase the level of danger by consuming large quantities of alcohol. The same is true if you are a spectator.

Getting drunk along the parade routes makes it more difficult to keep a watchful eye on your kids, and it can make some people far too willing to bend the rules.

Mardi Gras, particularly in our local region, is all about family fun. The parades are geared toward pleasing the kids of all ages who gather in throngs along the routes.

When the adults, though, act childishly or behave badly – fighting, cursing, drinking and all the rest – it can ruin everyone’s fun.

Unfortunately, that is the behavior our brave and selfless emergency workers are there to prevent. Failing that, they are there to react as needed.

Please do your part by cooperating with them and keeping our Carnival season one that is remembered for the parades and catches, not for anything else.

 

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.