(KMOV) – St. Louis police are putting last-minute security plans in place as second biggest Mardi Gras party in the nation is set to roll through Soulard this weekend.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson told News 4 the Boston Marathon bombing has changed the way people should approach such large public events.
Dotson said while he wants those attending the festivities to have fun, he also remembers what happened last year when a man pulled a gun and fired into a crowd. He was shot and killed by police.
Dotson said along with not bring book bags and glass bottles, definitely do not bring a gun.
“Don’t even leave that in your car if you have a concealed carry permit. What that does is it creates an open invitation for criminals to break into your car and we know criminals will break into cars specifically looking for guns,” he said.
Meanwhile, party tents, decorations, portable toilets, fences and “no parking” signs are sprinkled around Soulard for the celebration.
The Grand Parade begins Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at 7th Street and Cerre.
The 1.5-mile parade will travel south on 7th to Chouteau, east on Chouteau to Broadway, south on Broadway to 7th Street and then south on 7th Street, eventually ending at Sidney.
Everyone attending the event must be at least 21 years old to consume alcohol. Officials say undercover officer and city agents will be looking out for underage drinkers and those caught using a fake ID could be arrested.
Checkpoints will be along the per miter of the neighborhood to prevent anyone attending the Mardi Gras festivities from bringing in coolers, backpacks, cans or bottles into the festival area.
Anyone caught urinating in public will also be subject to arrest. Officials hope the portable toilets scattered throughout the area will prevent that from happening.
Officials say all vehicles parked along the route will be towed. Vehicles will also not be allowed inside the Soulard Red Zone, which is defined by the following areas: Marion on the north, Broadway on the east, I-55 on the west and Shenandoah from Broadway to 11th and Ann from 11th to I-55 on the south.
Anyone with a permit will be allowed to park in the Yellow Zone, however. That zone is marked by the following streets: Ann from I-55 to 11th and Shendandoah from 11th to Broadway on the north, 7th on the east, Lynch on the south and I-55 on the west.
These streets will be completely or partially closed on Saturday: Clark from 8th to Broadway and 6th from Gratiot, as well as the entire Red Zone as mentioned above.
Metro is offering a Mardi Gras shuttle from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday for those who do ont want to drive. The shuttle pass costs $5 per person and can be bought at the Civic Center MetroBus Center beginning at 9 a.m.
The whole parade route will shut down until Sunday.