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.