MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Crowds were smaller than last year for the first parade of the Mardi Gras season.
The Conde Cavaliers kicked off the parade season Friday night, followed by a free Nelly concert in Mardi Gras park.
After a shooting downtown on New Year’s Eve, police say they’re ready for Mardi Gras.
Mobile Police say the numbers for this weekend speak for themselves as to how all of the measures they took worked to make sure everyone stayed safe and had fun.
As Conde Cavaliers began to roll Friday night, crowds of people came down to watch. The crowds were smaller than last year.
In 2022, Mobile police estimates about 92,400 people crowded the streets to catch some throws. On Friday, about 33,000 fewer came out to catch them roll. About an estimated 59,000 people lined the streets.
There were four arrests in 2022, and no arrests during the parade this year.
Before the parades, some had concerns about safety after a shooting in downtown Mobile on New Year’s Eve killed one and injured nine.
“A little bit, but not too much,” said Savannah Syron. “I still want to come either way for the Mardi Party.”
Mobile police increased safety measures ahead of the first parade, including a more visible presence of police officers downtown and undercover officers in the crowds. Mobile police said their officers would be more aggressive with suspicious activity this year, and they put up extra lighting along the routes to deter crime.
And after hearing about the parades over the weekend, many we spoke with say they are ready to let the good times roll, despite previous concerns.
“I was a little bit [concerned], but then my aunt Nikki and some of my other family came to the last few parades that happened, and they said everything was just fine and it was really fun,” said Danna Martin. “So I was like you know what, when I’m not busy I’m going to go,” said Dana Martin.
Crowd sizes increased for the Saturday parades this year. The crowd estimates for the Bayport Parading Society and Mystic DJ Riders and the Pharaohs’ Mystic Society and Conde Explorers both increased from last year.