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Mardi Gras - Did You Know it is Illegal to Wear a Mask in New Orleans? But there is an Exception.

Written by Attorney G. Randolph Rice, Jr. on February 21, 2012

Let me start of by saying, HAPPY MARDI GRAS! from Baltimore, Maryland. Although there aren't any parades rolling through the streets of Baltimore today, there are plenty or revelers in New Orleans.  On this day of celebration, we did want to reflect on one of the New Orleans city ordinances that could only be written in such a unique place.  

Below you'll find the New Orleans city ordinance that prohibits the wearing of masks on any other day but today, and they must be taken off by 6:00 p.m.   Now for all of the folks that haven't been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, typically the party doesn't end until midnight tonight, so what happens to all of the individuals that are wearing masks past 6:00 p.m.?  I can tell you that they police have other crimes to concern themselves with, so this little known city ordinance takes a back seat to urinating in public and drunk and disorderly.  Enjoy your Mardi Gras.

New Orleans, Louisiana – Code of Ordinances

Section 54-313.  Masks or disguises in public

(a)  It shall be unlawful for any person to use or wear in any public place, a hood or mask or anything of the nature of either or any facial disguise of any kind or description, calculated to conceal or hide the identity of the person or to prevent ready recognition of such person.

(b)  This section shall not apply to the following:

(1)  To persons participating in any public parade or exhibition of any educational, religious, or historical or amusement character given by any school, church, civic, fraternal or carnival organization or public governing authority or to persons in any private residence club or lodge room; or

(2)  To persons participating in masquerade balls or entertainments, to persons participating in carnival parades or exhibitions during the periods of Mardi Gras or Spring Fiesta festivities, to persons participating in the parades or exhibitions of minstrel troupes, circuses or other dramatic or amusement shows, or to masking on Mardi Gras up to the hours of 6:00 p.m. It shall be unlawful for any masker to refuse to furnish his true name and street address and to temporarily remove his mask on Mardi Gras whenever requested by any police officer in uniform.


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