My family has enjoyed Mardi Gras festivities for more than 30 years. We began on the seawall when our children were young, moved to The Strand area before paid admittance was implemented, and in the past several years attended Strand activities under the security of paid admission.
I enjoy the paid admission area, and feel my family is better protected there; however, I realize this is a burden to residents and merchants in that area.
I hope the city, Krewes and stakeholders in The Strand and surrounding areas can come to an agreement not only to allow Mardi Gras to continue — but to ensure safety.
There's a strong security presence in the paid area (drug and bomb sniffing dogs, multiple law enforcement agencies, metal detectors at the entrances) that's sorely missing everywhere else.