Saturday, February 09, 2008

Everyone's talkin bout the Highland parade - truly, it has grown . . .

Originally uploaded by aguendulay
Highland Parade Could see Changes / from The Times on Sat, Feb 9, as written by Stephanie Netherton:

The small neighborhood parade that began 13 years ago is not so small anymore. The Krewe of Highland parade has seen measurable growth in recent years and could see significant changes in the future.

The parade's growth has caused problems with traffic flow and congestion in the Highland neighborhood and surrounding area. The parade also has gotten so long that it often catches up with itself on the parade route.

"The parade is so long that it completely wraps itself around the parade route, which means the streets are closed for a long period of time," police spokeswoman Kacee Hargrave said.

"People who live in the Highland neighborhood are stuck that day. The residents who live there know that."

Hargrave said the parade keeps most of the Highland neighborhood blocked off for about four hours.

This week, the Shreveport Police's Special Events Task Force met with krewe members from Centaur, Gemini, Highland, Sobek and Harambee to discuss this year's parades and improvements that need to be made. While none of the other parades should see changes next year, several suggestions were made to help resolve traffic issues around the Highland parade.

Police discussed extending the parade route, limiting the number of floats in the parade and, in the most extreme case, moving the parade out of the neighborhood. However, Highland Captain Terry Gill feels confident moving the parade will not be the resolution.

"No one with authority has told us that is going to happen. But the general consensus with the krewe is that if they move us to the (Clyde Fant Memorial) parkway, we will no longer do a parade," Gill said.

"That's not what we've ever been about. We're about neighborhood solidarity."

A decision won't be made for several months, and several more meetings are scheduled to discuss the issue. Gill said few logistics have been discussed, but the krewe is willing to help resolve traffic problems.

"We're not uncomfortable with the prospect of extending the parade route, but I'm sure they're not going to move us. The krewes that parade on the parkway are not without their own problems," Gill said.

"We felt good about the compliments we received from the people in the Police Department. Most people watch the parade in their front yards or at the houses of their friends living on the parade route, so we don't have fights and the parade goes off without much of a hitch. I think the parade has just gotten bigger than anybody ever imagined it would be."

Hargrave said the Highland parade is possibly the most family-oriented parade, but improvements need to be made.

"It's a good parade, but it could be better for the sake of the krewe and Highland residents," Hargrave said.

"At the end of every year, we meet to talk about how we can make the parades better. Through those meetings we generate ideas and look for solutions."

photo by Amy Guendulay