Many reserving MCCA spots already

Published 2:34 am Friday, January 22, 2016

The MCCA XXXVI Mardi Gras parade is still weeks away, but Keith Penton’s one of the many parade viewers who has already got his spot marked.

Penton spent Wednesday afternoon with a roll of yellow plastic caution tape, marking off a rectangle on a grassy patch along Columbia Street.

“This is the civil side,” Penton said.

Meaning, he explained, this is the side for family fun.

Penton has been getting a jump start on Mardi Gras for years now.

“Shoot, a good six or eight years,” he said.

Penton’s not alone. All along the parade route, families have erected strips of tape, recreational vehicles and barricades to cordon off particular spots.

City Pubic Works Director James Hall Jr. said citizens are welcome to set up on public property, but he asks everyone to be mindful of a few rules.

“All that we ask is that you do not block a fire hydrant, you do not park over a manhole cover and you do not park over someone’s water meter,” Hall said. “If that is the case we will have the vehicle towed.”

Hall said the water meters send an electronic signal to an electronic database that generates water bills. When a vehicle is parked over a meter, the signal is broken, and the city will take notice.

Penton said he likes to have a spot set up on Columbia for his family and maybe four or five other families. He said that part of the parade route is a little quieter and a bit more “kid-friendly.”

“All this back here,” he said, pointing to a grassy patch to the rear of the caution tape rectangle. “They can play around there and they ain’t all in the street.”

Penton’s work was done quickly. After tying the tape around some metal rods and a tree, he was set. Until Saturday, Feb. 6, anyway.

The parade will kick off that day at 1 p.m., but Penton said he’d also be early that day, and set up by 8 a.m.