LaPlace Mardi Gras parade to roll early due to severe weather forecast

The Purple Heart Medal float rolls in the 2017 38th annual Krewe du Monde parade in LaPlace (File photo by Ann Benoit).

The start time for the LaPlace Mardi Gras parade, the Krewe du Monde, will start an hour earlier than scheduled Sunday (March 3) in hopes of avoiding severe weather, St. John the Baptist Parish officials announced Friday.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday, with the new Krewe of Dage’ parade to roll immediately afterward.

Severe thunderstorms are forecast for Sunday morning through the evening as a cold front hits southeastern Louisiana. The front could bring damaging winds, large hail, tornados and flooding.

The du Monde and Dage’ parades will affect traffic; between 9 and 10 a.m., both north and southbound lanes of U.S. 51 may be shut down for float line-up. Police officers will be at U.S. 51 and U.S. 61 to help direct traffic, which will be diverted to Old U.S. 51 to avoid gridlock at Old U.S. 51 and Main Street.

Northbound lanes of Belle Terre Boulevard at Fairway Drive (map) are expected to close around 9:30 a.m. Sunday and remain shut down until the parade ends.

The Krewe of Towahpahsah parade is still set to roll at noon Saturday in Reserve, officials said. Towahpahsah parade-goers should be aware that due to the rising river levels and the emergency declaration by Gov. John Bel Edwards, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not allow vehicles or trailers to park on the levee.

However, people will be allowed to gather on and watch the parade from the levee side.

For more information, visit the St. John the Baptist Parish website.

Laura McKnight covers crime and breaking news for | The Times-Picayune.