NEW ORLEANS — Bourbon Street, usually packed with tons of tourists for carnival weekend, looks almost unrecognizable. Now, the folks who didn’t cancel their trip are dealing with some disappointment.
“Oh my God, we were just so excited to come for Mardi Gras! We booked this trip a year ago, then coronavirus just shut everything down,” said Shanise Darling, who’s visiting from Miami.
Mardi Gras 2021 is one we won’t forget anytime soon. Due to the city’s coronavirus restrictions, landmark bars are closed through Fat Tuesday, hundreds of police officers are patrolling the city and the French Quarter is much more quiet than usual.
“We are just making the best of it, trying to have fun. It’s a little sad, but I know it will be back stronger than ever next time,” said Sam Williams, who’s visiting from North Carolina.
Even locals say this year’s Mardi Gras, compared to previous years, is like night and day.
“Mardi Gras is a time for the city to come together, for neighbors to talk to neighbors and having fun. This year, people are just staying indoors, not really going to parties or hanging out,” said New Orleans resident Matheson Johnson.
Others say, despite the circumstances, they’re still happy to be in the Big Easy.
“We’re here with eight of us ladies and it’s fantastic and we are having a great time!” said Allyson Lackey, who’s visiting from Arizona.
Police and city officials are encouraging people to stay inside this Mardi Gras weekend, to wear face masks, social distance and avoid large crowds.