NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO)-Mayor Latoya Cantrell and the New Orleans City Council held talks on how to move forward with 2021 Mardi Gras.
Their concerns centered around the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The Mayor is saying that Mardi Gras is not cancelled but, it will be different.
“It is a religious holiday and in no way will it be cancelled in our city but, it will be something different,” said Mayor Latoya Cantrell.
Thursday night, she told her Mardi Gras Advisory Council that they need to come up with ways to put on a safe carnival season with social distancing guidelines in place.
As far as the parades go, there will have to be six-feet between every rider on floats, which could mean far fewer riders per krewe. The mayor says the Mardi Gras Council and the krewes must also find a way to parade without costing the city too much money for things like police details and sanitation. According to Mayor Cantrell, Mardi Gras costs the city $7.6 million from the city budget.
The deadline to submit plans to the Mayor is December 5. This deadline could be a big one, since Carnival season begins a month later on January 6. Cantrell wants to see how each krewe plans to operate in those constraints then, she’ll give the final “OK” for the krewe to roll.
Endymion, Orpheus, and Bacchus say, they are still planning to roll as long as the city allows it.
“The city needs it, the city needs the revenue and we’re just doing everything we can to be prepared so if the mayor says go, we’re ready to go,” said Dan Kelly, President of Endymion.
A few other recommendations from the New Orleans City Council for next year’s carnival suggest having the floats remain parked for people to simply walk past, or do timed visits to the “Float Dens,” where people can practice social distancing and go home with a bag of throws.
The City Council strongly encourages paradegoers to wear masks that cover their nose and mouth to prevent the spread of Covid. Something else they suggest paradegoers do before they leave the house, do a temperature check. They say to bring hand sanitizer, social distance on the parade route and those who are vulnerable should stay home. Following CDC guidelines is going to be a big part of how this year’s carnival will be different.
During the meeting, the city addressed that there is already an ordinance that requires the float riders to wear a mask but, the subcommittee recommended that the krewes require float riders to wear masks that cover their noses and mouths, too.
Already making plans to not roll, the krewes of NOMTOC, Oshun, and Adonis have decided not to parade next year. Previously, a krewe could lose its standing if it did not roll but, that will not be the case this year. They will keep their seniority.
Mardi Gras Day is February 16.