---- — NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Since 1999, it has been illegal for spectators at Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans to throw objects — even beads — at floats or their riders or other parade participants.
In the interest of recycling, though, the City Council could soon enact an exception to the prohibition.
Councilwoman Susan Guidry has introduced an ordinance that would make an exception for parades that include a float at the end of the procession to collect beads for recycling, The Times-Picayune reports.
As written, the exception would cover only plastic beads — presumably beads the spectators had caught from riders on earlier floats. The council could vote on the ordinance before the 2013 Carnival season, which begins Jan. 19. Mardi Gras is Feb. 12.
Even if it passes, it would still be illegal to throw inherently dangerous objects, such as rocks or bricks, at floats.
The ban was approved in 1999 as a safety measure to keep mask-wearing riders from being hit by flying objects. It has not entirely stopped people from tossing beads or other trinkets back at floats or band members, but apparently has helped control the practice.
The proposed ordinance would require the sponsor of any recycling float to notify city authorities in advance.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com