One of the frequent questions about the upcoming Carnival season is whether the parade will be allowed in New Orleans.
A portion of Mayor Laotta Cantrell’s page on the city’s website appears to address that question, and the answer is “no.”
There is a direct section addressing the parade next year, under the frequently asked questions of the mayor’s web page on Mardi Gras 2021.
“Question: Will there be a parade in the city of New Orleans this year?
“Answer: No parade of any kind will be allowed this year as large gatherings have proved to be super spreader incidents of COVID-19 virus.”
The FAQ page seems to directly contradict recent invitations from the city that Carnival organizations come up with creative ideas to celebrate a Mardi Gras that is “not canceled, just different.”
Reaching over the phone, a representative from the mayor’s office said that the administration plans to provide more comprehensive details about the posting on the web site.
In a tweet from the official City of New Orleans account, the city confirmed that the parade would not be allowed to roll, “due to their ability as super-spreader events.”
The news came as a surprise to many local crew who were in discussions with the mayor’s office about what Mardi Gras might look like in 2021.
Dan Kelly, president of Crewe of Endowment, cautioned that people should hold the verdict until today to clarify their position. He said he attended the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Committee meeting less than two weeks ago and “he did not say anything about there being no parade.”
“It’s a total shock at the moment,” said Kelly, who was fielding calls and messages from other krewes on Tuesday morning, surprised at the news.
“Hopefully, it’s a mistake, because it means a lot to the city and a lot to the people of New Orleans,” Kelly said.
A representative of Zulu’s Crewe could not immediately be reached for comment.
On Monday afternoon City Hall issued a request for community input on the nola.gov website to help resolve the dilemma of how to produce the nation’s largest party during an epidemic.
According to the call for ideas, the mayor is exploring a way to stop the “unstructured crowd of strangers”.
City Hall seeks “realistic, practical” solutions that “speak to our local traditions and culture.”
Suggestions should address considerations such as “safety protocols or facilities” that can be “increased or decreased” based on public health guidelines in place.
That announcement pointed out that the celebration of Carnival 2021 could be complicated by the fact that “experts are predicting a winter spike in cases in December and January – right when our carnival calendar gets rolling.”
Last year’s carnival season is believed to have helped accelerate the spread of the then new COVID-19 virus.
Citizens are asked to submit a detailed proposal, including sketches or diagrams that explain their concepts, to [email protected]
The mayor would also like “a good ‘theme’ or name proposals for a carnival this year.” The deadline for ideas is before midnight of December 5, 2020.
Earlier in November, the Mayor met with a committee of Carnival Crewe captains to resolve their proposals for COVID-conscious parading.
During that meeting, the mayor called for some sample ideas, such as the emphasis on TV programs and the use of static tableaux.
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Arthur Hardy, publisher of The Mardi Gras Guide, posted this update on mardigrasguide.com on Monday.