Every year, it's the sign that Mardi Gras is officially here.

I'm not talking about the traditional flag-raising at Lafayette City Hall. While that may be the official kickoff of Mardi Gras in Lafayette, the unofficial start to Mardi Gras is the day we see the metal barricades laid out along the parade route.

It's usually a day of mixed emotions because we're excited that the parades are upon us, but so is the traffic nightmare that comes with the annual barricading of the city as we get excited about all the carnival excitement.

Every year, we transform into "Barricadiana" within a 24-48-hour period—which always reminds me of an amazing video we did with our friend and custodian Big D.

Not only does he work with us here at Townsquare Media he's also a Labor Foreman with the Lafayette Consolidated Government and shared a little bit of insight on the process behind the Mardi Gras barricades.

How many barricades are there?

According to Big D, there are "thousands of barricades." I've actually heard him throw out the figure 5,000+ numerous times. I would imagine that number has only grown over the years.

Where are they stored when it's not Mardi Gras?

They're all stacked up at the public works building, located off of Pinhook Road in Lafayette.

Courtesy KATC
Courtesy KATC
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While barricades are totally a Mardi Gras staple, they're also used for numerous other parades, roadblocks, traffic control, etc.—but never in the capacity that we see them in for Mardi Gras.

How long does it take to put them out?

As far as the time that it takes to full "barricade" the Lafayette Mardi Gras parade route, it really all depends on the personnel available, but Big D says the job is usually complete within 1-2 days.

Can workers opt out of barricade-related activities?

Speaking of personnel, when you're hired on at LCG, it's immediately made known that you're working all Mardi Gras week long.

KATC via YouTube
KATC via YouTube
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To quote Big D: "Some start, but not everyone finishes."

What about people who complain that it ruins traffic?

For those who complain about the barricades ruining traffic, Big D asks that you just be patient. While the barricades may cause some delays on our commute, they also allow us to safely enjoy one of our biggest cultural traditions.

Mardi-Gras-Barricades-Getty
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Plus, they're great protection for kids that get too excited as well as those who may have had a little "too much Mardi Gras."

Check out Big D in one of my favorite Mardi Gras videos of all time, be safe in Barricadiana, and get ready for Mardi Gras.

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