PORT ARTHUR – Mardi Gras is all about, food, drinks, catching beads and having a good time with family and friends. It’s the 20th anniversary of the Southeast Texas Mardi Gras. Law enforcement officers spend months preparing for the big weekend and making sure it’s a safe environment for families to enjoy. “From about 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. over 100 officers are here on a Saturday night,” says Port Arthur Police Chief Mark Blanton. There’s a command post that’s set up to serve as the hub for Mardi Gras weekend. Chief Blanton is in charge of coordinating all of the law enforcement agencies that come together to provide security. “It’s like managing a separate city. It’s a huge undertaking. The planning begins in September of every year. We start examining our plan to make sure its up to date.” Mardi Gras calls are taken from inside the command post so they’re separate from other calls that are happening around the city. “Please don’t leave valuables in the car. Put your stuff in the trunk and don’t add temptation,” says Chief Blanton. His main concern is safety so everyone can have a good time. “This is not New Orleans style. This is Port Arthur style. People need to remember that, and if you want to come over here and act stupid and cause problems, I suggest you have bond money in your back pocket.” Southeast Texas Mardi Gras is the biggest festival in the area. “Draws more people, and I like it because as you get older, it seems like you lose contact with friends, but I see people I went to high school with and I haven’t seen them in years.” Years of fun and tradition the Chief hopes will continue in Port Arthur.