Mardi Gras Will Go on Without Parades in 2021

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has prohibited parades amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Mardi Gras 2015 - Krewe Of Orpheus Parade
Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Laissez les bons temps rouler? Not during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a recent announcement from Mayor LaToya Cantrell, parades will be prohibited at New Orleans' "not cancelled, just different" Mardi Gras celebration in 2021.

"With COVID-19 cases increasing around the country, we will have to modify how to observe carnival season to be safe for everyone. Experts are predicting a 'winter spike' in cases this winter in December and January—right when our carnival calendars get rolling," the mayor's office said in a statement. "We have done an amazing job flattening the curve—and hopefully it will stay that way through the winter—but we are surrounded by hot spots and we don't know what the future holds in store for us."

The shoulder-to-shoulder crowds that line the city's streets each February have the potential to become super-spreader events. They would also violate the city's current limit of 250 people at gatherings.

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Elroy James, president of Zulu, told that the idea that parades may not be appropriate should not be a total surprise given the grim realities of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"These are unprecedented times," he said, adding that if Mardi Gras cannot include parades this year, so be it.

"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," James concluded. "I'm optimistic but I understand where we are."

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