Political signs in Mardi Gras season parades raise new questions in Jefferson Parish

Two Jefferson Parish political candidates rode in Mardi Gras season parades over the weekend in cars bearing their signs, despite a parish ordinance forbidding pro-candidate messages. They are Ricky Templet, the 1st Parish Council District incumbent who is seeking a parishwide council seat, and Frank Brindisi, who is running for state judge.

Brindisi’s sign, on a Toyota convertible, was explicit. It said “Frank Brindisi for Judge - 24th Judicial District Court Div. E - Election Day March 30, 2019.”

Photos of him riding in it in the taxpayer-subsidized Mystic Knights of Adonis parade Saturday in Terrytown were posted on his campaign Facebook page. Brindisi did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday morning (Feb. 26).

Jefferson Parish law says: “Participants in any parade shall not display in said parade any endorsement of candidates for elective public office, or any endorsement of any issues to be voted on in any election."

When notified of the Brindisi and Templet signs, a spokeswoman for Parish President Mike Yenni’s administration, which regulates Mardi Gras season parades, said: "The Department of Citizens Affairs reviews all of the parades once Mardi Gras is over to determine if there were any violations committed. If so, then notices are sent out and a tiered penalty system is used to address violations”.

Templet’s sign was somewhat ambiguous: “Proven Leadership - Templet - Jefferson Parish Council.” It’s the same sign displayed atop his campaign Facebook page, but he denied it endorsed his candidacy, saying it merely identified his current position.

“Nothing says, ‘vote for’ or ‘elect’,” Templet said. “It’s just acknowledging what I am.”

Templet is running for the council’s Division A seat on the Oct. 12 ballot. He said he rode in Adonis and the Krewe of Excalibur parade Friday in Metairie in a 1998 Ford Mustang convertible that he owns.

The Parish Council on Feb. 6 voted 7-0 to give Adonis $10,000 for its parade.

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Drew Broach covers Jefferson Parish politics and education plus other odds and ends. Email: dbroach@nola.com. Facebook: Drew Broach TP. Twitter: drewbroach1.