New Orleans agency: 1 fatally struck by Mardi Gras float

February 22, 2020 - 9:28 pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A person was struck by a float and fatally injured Saturday evening during one of the iconic parades of the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, authorities said. It was the second death in days to mar this year's Carnival festivities.

A city agency tasked with emergency preparedness tweeted that the death occurred Saturday night as the major parade of the Krewe of Endymion parade was rolling in the south Louisiana city. The agency, NOLA Ready, said it had no immediate details how the death occurred, and police said they would release more information later.

NOLA Ready also tweeted that the remainder of Endymion's parade was canceled Saturday evening. Reports said 13 floats had already been rolling when the accident occurred and that the remaining floats and marching groups disbanded after the accident at an intersection with Canal Street, a major city thoroughfare in the south Louisiana city.

New Orleans police said first responderss had converged on the area and as the department tweeted out calls for crowds thronging the area to avoid the site where the death happened.

The fatality comes as New Orleans was already mourning the death of a 58-year-old woman who witnesses said was run over by a parade float Wednesday night in the runup to Mardi Gras.

The earlier death happened during the parade of the Mystic Krewe of Nyx, an all-female Carnival group. Witnessed said the woman, later identified by authorities as Geraldine Carmouche, had apparently tried to cross between two parts of a tandem float but tripped over a hitch connecting the sections.

It wasn't immediately clear if a tandem float was involved in Saturday night's fatality, but the city agency NOLA Ready tweeted that tandem floats would not be allowed for the rest of the 2020 season. Tandem floats are multiple floats connected together and pulled by one tractor.

Mardi Gras is Feb. 25, but the Fat Tuesday celebration is preceded by a week or more of parades and parties each year.

The death comes one 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 parade had just passed. A man identified as the driver was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.

Before the 2020 fatalties, the most recent Carnival float-related fatality 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.

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.

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