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Mardi Gras Parades Are Canceled For 2021, City Officials Say
For the first time in more than 40 years — and only the 13th time reportedly since the Mystick Krewe of Comus first rolled through the streets on Mardi Gras in 1857 — New Orleans will not have parades the upcoming Carnival season to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
According to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Office, parades are prohibited because they have proven to be super spreader events of COVID-19.
“The City of New Orleans cannot cancel Mardi Gras because it is a religious holiday; however, we will not be able to celebrate the holiday this year as we have in the past,” reads a statement posted by Mayor Cantrell’s office.
Mardi Gras is the Louisiana city’s biggest tourism draw, with more than 1.4 million visiting the historic French Quarter every year. A 2020 study by WalletHub found that Mardi Gras had an economic impact of more than $1 billion in New Orleans.
While the festival, also known as “Fat Tuesday,” has strayed from its religious roots, the celebrations have served as an indulgence before starting the Christian observance Lent on Ash Wednesday.
City officials received loads of backlash for having Mardi Gras celebrations during the start of the pandemic.
Louisiana reported more than 2,300 confirmed cases and 46 deaths from New Orleans shortly after the 2020 Mardi Gras event.
As previously reported by Travel Noire, mayor Cantrell said she would have canceled the events had she received better information from federal leadership.
For 2021, Cantrell’s office is turning to the public for ideas about how to celebrate the holiday safely. A public announcement on the city’s website reads “not canceled, just different,” and asks residents to submit detailed plans for socially distanced celebrations with safety protocols built-in.
The plans should comply with COVID-19 restrictions and”prevent unstructured crowds of strangers,” the mayor said. Cantrell’s office is also asking the public to submit ideas for “a good ‘theme’ or name” for Carnival this year.