- Associated Press - Sunday, April 20, 2014

GRETNA, La. (AP) - The Krewe of Gretna has formally asked for permission to parade on Mardi Gras behind the Krewe of Grela, returning a truck parade to the Jefferson Parish city for the first time in 14 years.

Truck parade Captain Michael Benedetto and organizer Jessica Welty presented their plans to the Gretna City Council earlier this month, Nola.comThe Times-Picayune reported.

Benedetto who runs the Krewe of Jefferson truck parade in East Jefferson said that krewe has a number of west bank members who want to parade at home on Fat Tuesday. “We hope we can help them have this opportunity,” he said.

Welty, Benedetto’s daughter, said the krewe hopes to have 15 truck floats in its debut. City officials welcomed the new krewe, with Mayor Belinda Constant saying residents have been wanting a truck parade for years.

“People want trucks. They want a longer parade. They love the parade here in the city. Is it part of our history? Absolutely. The trucks enhance the parade,” Constant said.

Constant asked City Attorney Mark Morgan is researching city law for how a parade permit must be handled. The issue is expected to return to the council agenda in May.

The last time Carnival trucks paraded through Gretna was 2001. That parade ended due to financial woes and declining participation.

Grela captain Russell Lloyd said the trucks will provide a much-needed lift to the city’s Mardi Gras celebration. Several west bank parades have moved their routes to New Orleans in recent years. Grela didn’t parade in 2012, but returned the next year to glowing reviews.

Councilman Jackie Berthelot said the trucks are “going to make Grela a bigger and better parade.”

The Jefferson and the Elks Krewe of Jeffersonians truck parades follow the Krewe of Argus on Mardi Gras in Metairie. In New Orleans, the Elks Krewe of Orleanians and the Krewe of Crescent City string out hundreds of trucks following the Zulu and Rex parades on Fat Tuesday.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com