Few things illicit more complaints and controversy during the Mardi Gras season than the barricades that line Lafayette roadways. Lafayette Public Works Director Tom Carroll stopped by "Nathan and Bernie in the Morning" to explain why those barricades are such a necessary evil.

"We put out 5,500 barricades," said the Public Works Director. "At $100 a pop, we’re putting out almost $6 million in barricades."

We’ve got seven 30-yard rollout dumpsters that we empty more than once during Mardi Gras.

In the years before barricades lined the streets of Lafayette Mardi Gras parades, Lafayette police used rope and at times metal string to keep people out of the streets. The rope and metal string often led to cuts and injuries for parade participants. Additionally, police were forced to line the streets to control the crowds. With the introduction of barricades, police can now spread out their officers and make better use of resources.

Carroll says the Public Works Department plans year round to ensure barricade installation and removal is done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

It takes us logistically two days to set up the barricades. We start on Thursday, finish on Friday, then the parade is Saturday. Immediately after the parade we start moving them back until the following Thursday when we go through the same operation.

Carroll says he understands the burden put on Lafayette traffic, which why his crews wait as long as possible before installing the barricades.

The reason they go up so early, we’ve got a parade the week before all the other parades, we’ve got Rio this week.

After the barricades have been installed the work does not stop for the Public Works Department. Cleanup crews begin clearing city streets immediately after parades and often work late into the night.

People don’t understand what our crews go through. We’ve got seven 30-yard rollout dumpsters that we empty more than once during Mardi Gras. We’re there sometimes all night making sure everything’s cleaned up for the next day.

With a daunting task ahead, Carroll asks that Lafayette residents be patient with the Public Works crews that are working diligently to make the Mardi Gras experience safe and fun for everyone.

We ask that people be cognizant that our people are in the street.

They do catch a lot of verbal abuse and horn blowing, but please understand that these people are just doing their jobs.
It’s a tough job and we realize it’s an inconvenience, but that’s just what we go through every year to have the success we do.

To listen to the full audio from the interview, click on the play button below: