Without a doubt, Mardi Gras is the biggest celebration in New Orleans and surrounding areas, drawing nearly a million visitors annually. While it’s a time for joy and festivity, particularly during the bustling parade season, safety should always be a top priority. Yet, amidst this festive atmosphere, there’s an increased risk of injuries due to dense crowds, excessive alcohol consumption, and overall partying. Whether you’re a local from the Southshore or Northshore, or a visitor drawn to the allure of Fat Tuesday, it’s crucial to navigate carnival season with care. 

Statistics from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission highlight Mardi Gras as the most perilous holiday for vehicular accidents in the state. The New Orleans Police Department reports a surge in traffic accidents in the two weeks leading to Fat Tuesday, with the Saturday prior being particularly hazardous.

A significant danger during Mardi Gras is irresponsible alcohol consumption. Intoxicated drivers pose a severe threat, endangering not only themselves but also other parade goers and drivers on the road. The consequences of drunk driving during such a huge, often several city-wide  event can be catastrophic.

Beyond road safety, Mardi Gras also sees a rise in slip and fall incidents. The influx of visitors can overwhelm establishments, making it challenging to maintain safe conditions. Business owners, including those of restaurants and hotels, are obligated to ensure their premises are hazard-free. A seemingly minor slip on a slick surface can lead to severe injuries, potentially holding the property owner liable.

Another notable aspect of the French Quarter during Mardi Gras is its highly coveted, picturesque balconies. While they offer a prime view of the festivities, they can also be hazardous. Balcony and railing collapses are not rare, often due to inadequate maintenance and aging structures. Property owners are responsible for regular upkeep to prevent such accidents, and failure to do so can result in liability for any injuries caused by structural failures.

Whether a local or a visitor, enjoy Mardi Gras safely:

• Opt for an Uber or a designated driver if you’ve been drinking.

• Be cautious of slippery surfaces.

• Avoid leaning on balcony railings.

• Be mindful of broken glass and other hazards.

• Stay alert to beads and other items being thrown.

• Keep behind barricades during parades.

• Do not approach or run between parade floats.

• Ensure ladders used are stable and secure.

• Follow traffic signs and signals to avoid accidents.

• Always be aware of your surroundings.

While Mardi Gras is a time for fun, accidents can and do often happen. If you find yourself or someone you know injured, contact Christian Banck. Located in Covington, he and his team are highly experienced in personal injury law in Louisiana and are ready to help. Call us for a free consultation at (985) 900-2440, or email [email protected].