An offer by a group of Joe Cain Procession foot marchers to pay a reduced rate to allow all foot marchers to participate in the parade has been denied by members of the Joe Cain Parading Society.
Organizers have said that charging a $20 fee per marcher and requiring each participant to register is nothing new, but marching groups complain the fee is unfair because organizers only charge $180 for a float full of people, which comes out to less than $20 a head.
In addition, these groups argue the fee takes away from the spirit of the “People’s Parade” and the laissez fare attitude of the day honoring the man who brought Mardi Gras back to Mobile after the Civil War.
Arthur Gonzales, an officer in a foot marcher group known as the Wild Mauvillians, didn’t go into the specifics of the deal, but said the group offered to pay for insurance costs and the cost of credentials for all the foot marchers, a figure close to $400, but it was refused.
“As of right now we’re not going to have foot marchers in the parade,” he said. “No individual groups are willing to sell out. Unless they’re willing to work with us I’d say we’re not going to march.”
Theresa Schettler Saad, one of three Joe Cain Parading Society directors, said the fees have been in place since 2008 and they wouldn’t be changed this year.
“Those that were assigned to take care of this fell down on the job,” Saad said. “We’re only trying to put it back in place.”
Saad said foot marchers registered for the parade earlier this week, but wouldn’t disclose a specific number of participants.
“We want the parade to go on as usual,” she said.
Saad said the organizers won’t revisit the situation this year, but added that changes could be made to future parades, depending on how directors vote.