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Page 132 text:
Mardi Gras Coalition Awaiting the start of Mardi Gras, members rest Victims are aided by Medics at street stations. Sleeping in Tulane Stadium was banned in 1975 " Madi Gras visitors — We welcome you to the biggest free show in the world. " — quote from a New Orleans information pamphlet put out by Mayor Moon Landrieu and Police Super- intendent Clarence B. Giarrusso. Parades until midnight, dancing, drinking, laughing, painted faces, singing, stripping, stumbling, it may be the biggest show in the world, but those of us who have experienced it know it ' s not free, especially if one spends time in a hospital or in a jail cell. Mardi Gras Coalition, a project of the Community Action Council of Tulane University Students (CACTUS), is an attempt to help make Carnival a safe, enjoyable, and peaceful experience for visitors and natives. Pressures which had been building throughout the 1960 ' s were brought to a head during the Mardi Gras of 1960 when the inadequecies of established programs to provide food, in- formation, housing, legal and medical aid, to some of our city ' s less affluent visitors became painfully obvious. In response, volunteers from a variety of area organizations came together and established the Mardi Gras Coalition, under the auspices of CACTUS. Although CACTUS, the Tulane Law School, and residents of the French Quarter were in on the ground floor of this effort, it was not until after a heavy rainstrom during the Carnnival of 1971 when the Tulane Stadium was opened as a housing source, that large numbers of students became in- volved in MGC. Initially, the Coalition ' s main efforts focused around operat- ing with campus security in their efforts to control the crowd being housed in the Tulane Stadium. Food, first aid, and legal services were provided. 128
Page 131 text:
Page 133 text:
Aiding Carnival Visitors CPR Classes, mandatory for volunteers, are held prior to Mardi Gras. Resuscitation could prove to be invaluable in saving a life. Student Volunteers are ready to help. When the stadium was closed to visitors in 1975, the Coali- tion began to shift from its traditional housing and food ser- vices to the more specialized informational, medical and legal assistance activities. Presently. Mardi Gras Coalition, comprised of students and professionals from the New Orleans community. University Of New Orleans, Loyola and Tualne, offers its services during the Carnival season. Information services center around a phone line on the Tulanc campus which provides tourist in- formation regarding basic needs like inexpensive meals and housing alternatives. A " survival sheet " containing emergen- cy phone numbers, housing, parade and legal information is produced and distributed throughout the city. Street medics trained in first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation blanket the French Quarter in teams. These medics are in contact with a first-aid station operated in conjunction with Charity Hos- pital which is capable of providing advanced life support. Legal Services, stationed in Central Lock-up of Parish Pris- on, is staffed by Tulane law students and supervising attorneys from the community. They provide volunteer representation during preliminary hearings for arrestees who cannot retain a private attorney. Emphasis is placed on securing the early release on bond and in expediting the overall process of justice to alleviate an overloading of the courts and city correctional facilities. To date. Coalition, in its effort to make Mardi Gras enjoy- able for everyone, has served up to 3. ' iO,0()() individuals as well as spreading goodwill among police, residents, and visitors. 129
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