New Orleans won't be allowing any parades ahead of Mardi Gras in 2021.
The news that the long-standing tradition of massive street parades would go on hiatus in 2021 seeped out steadily this morning, after the mayor's office changed a section of its website to show that no parades would be permitted.
"Parades of any kind will not be permitted this year because large gatherings have proven to be super spreader events of the COVID-19 virus," the website stated plainly.
The city shared a graphic on Twitter announcing the change, but quickly deleted it. Leaders of many of New Orleans' parade Krewes were caught off guard this morning when the news broke. The president of the Krewe of Endymion, a star-studded and flashy mega-Krewe that frequently pulls in big name celebrities to lead their double-decker floats, told the Times-Picayune that he was not notified ahead of time.
"It’s a total shock at this moment," Dan Kelly said. "[Mayor LaToya Cantrell] didn't say anything about there not being any parades.”
In spite of the shock, Krewe of Zulu President Elroy James said he was understanding of the move. The city's largest African-American krewe is one of two marquee parading groups that rolls on Mardi Gras Day (the other being the Krewe of Rex). He followed Cantrell's assertion that Carnival would still happen, it would just be different.
“We as Krewe captains and leaders in the Mardi Gras community have to put our heads together … and figure out what “different” looks like, excluding parades,” he said.
While Mardi Gras cannot be cancelled, as it's a religious holiday related to the Catholic practice of Lent, that was the terminology used to talk about the news on Twitter.
Wow. This gives some perspective on how long we’ve been/will be in this. Mardi Gras 2020 was one of the last big “pre-Covid” events in the U.S. this year, and remember it led to tons of cases. Now we’re planning for Mardi Gras 2021 (or...not), and here we are. https://t.co/AZxLwFVrZF
— Lynsey Jeffery (@lynsjeffery) November 17, 2020
could not think of a more craven way to announce the cancellation of a city’s most beloved events than buried in a FAQ but that is how New Orleans found out there would be no Mardi Gras parades in 2021
— Andrew Healan (@andrewhealan) November 17, 2020
New Orleans can't cancel Mardi Gras, in the sense that it's a date on the calendar and a religious holiday ... but there's zero chance the celebration in 2021 looks anything like "normal." https://t.co/Uad4xyzVXr
— Bryn Stole (@brynstole) November 17, 2020
Mardi Gras 2021 will be an essay contest https://t.co/jejL11rAa9
— skooks (@skooks) November 17, 2020
Good! This is the right decision! Mayor LaToya Cantrell said last week that Mardi Gras 2021 is “not canceled, just different.” That verbiage is reflected on the website.https://t.co/N3O4Dn69GP
— Black Lives Matter ACAB (@FQMule) November 17, 2020
Lotta people saying Mardi Gras shouldn't be canceled but I dunno I've read some of its old tweets
— Notorious GJG (@animatedGeoff) November 17, 2020