The Louisiana division of the  American Civil Liberties Union has written a letter to the St. Martinville Police Department concerning the departments crackdown on music played over public address systems on Mardi Gras floats in the town’s annual parade.

Apparently the department put parade participants on notice that no rap music with obscene and vulgar lyrics would be allowed in the parade.

Executive Director of the Louisiana ACLU, Marjorie Esman, says this ban violates individual’s certain rights. She also believes the ban is constitutionally unenforceable.

“Things like vulgar lyrics, there is no legal standard for what’s vulgar so nobody could possibly understand what that would mean.”

The fact that the ban only singles out rap music is also a concern for Esman. She believes that this type of ban could be considered a form of racial profiling. She also suggested that there are other reasons why parade officials are trying to quell this particular style of music.

“I think what’s happened is that the city is unhappy with what the parade looks like, and they are trying to figure out how to fix it but they haven’t quite figured out how to do it in a legal way.”

The St. Martinville Parade is set to roll on Sunday February 15th and is one of most well attended Mardi Gras events in the city. Police Chief Calder Hebert says the concern about music is not limited to just rap. He says parade organizers want the event to be the kind of event that families can enjoy.

“We’re just hoping that all parade participants respect our young kids along the route,”

Hebert went on to say that there is no city council ordinance in place regarding vulgar music and there are no plans to arrest those that play vulgar music from their floats.  He said his main concern is for the safety of parade goers and parade participants and regarding the choice of music, he only asks that participants remember the many children that will be along the parade route.

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