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Woman killed by Mardi Gras float in New Orleans was possibly reaching for beads, police say

The woman was hit during the Krewe of Nyx parade, an all-female Mardis Grad krewe, marches annually on the Wednesday before Fat Tuesday.
Emergency personnel work the scene after a person was run over and killed by a float in the Krewe of Nyx parade during Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans on Feb. 19, 2020.Brett Duke / AP

A 58-year-old woman died after she was struck by a float Wednesday night during a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, officials said.

The woman was hit at about 9 p.m. at the intersection of Magazine and Valence streets during the Krewe of Nyx parade, according to the New Orleans Police Department. She was declared dead at the scene.

The Krewe of Nyx was founded in 2011 as an all-female Mardis Gras krewe, which now marches annually on the Wednesday before Fat Tuesday. In 2018, it was named the largest parading krewe ever in the history of New Orleans Mardi Gras, and in 2019 it was even bigger with 44 floats and 3,383 riders.

The victim may have possibly been trying to "reach for beads" when she was struck, according to a daily log sent to local media by the New Orleans Police Department, reported. The preliminary report is "derived from raw information" and is "subject to change," police say.

The float that hit the woman, identified Thursday by the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office as Geraldine Carmouche, was float #21, according to NBC affiliate WDSU. Police announced after the incident that float #20 would be the final one to ride in the parade, but non-float elements could detour around the scene and continue.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement that Thursday's parades would go on as scheduled.

"This morning our hearts are too heavy as many are waking to the news of last night's tragic accident during the Krewe of Nyx parade," Cantrell said. "While we must wait for the results of the investigation, we both mourn the loss of life during what is supposed to be our time to celebrate our life and culture here, and continue to be mindful of all safety practices during the Carnival season."

She reminded participants to "not go after beads or other throws that land near floats, and to never cross between floats or parade elements."

"Additionally, parade-goers are reminded to stay back as floats roll past," Cantrell said.

The statement also said a new sobering center was open with 25 beds to "receive individuals identified as publicly intoxicated by NOPD, State Police, other law enforcement agents."

The last time someone was killed after being struck by a Mardi Gras parade float was in 2008, WDSU reported.