New Orleans (WGNO) — During the Nyx parade in 2020, 58-year-old Geraldine Carmouche spotted some friends on a tandem float and tried to cross over the heavy hitch that joins the two floats.
Carmouche didn’t make it. She fell, and was killed as the wheels of the trailing float rolled over her.
This year, New Orleans safety officials have a new requirement for tandem floats that they hope will save lives.
Every tandem float that rolls during Carnival must have heavy-duty cargo netting between the two floats, on both sides of the hitch, to prevent parade-goers from trying to cross between them.
President and CEO of Kern Studios, Barry Kern, chose the cargo netting that all the float builders will use. It’s simple, commercially available cargo netting, normally used for keeping cargo containers from falling out of storage areas during transport.
One of the advantages of the netting, says Kern, is that it can stretch as much as 14 feet– plenty wide enough to allow for the distance between the two floats when a parade turns a corner.
New Orleans Fire Department Deputy Chief, Charles Jonau, says that NOFD inspectors will be checking every tandem float in every parade to make sure the floats are joined by the new barriers.