The novel coronavirus may join a short list of history’s events that have led to the cancellation of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Mayor Latoya Cantrell suggested on Tuesday that canceling the 2021 Mardi Gras festivities is “something we have to think about.” Speaking in an interview with the Washington Post, Cantrell said that one of the factors she needs to consider is when the city reopens and the steps that are taken to make that happen.
She said she wants the city’s reopening to be slow and steady.
“It will give me great pause right now before I commit to saying we are moving forward with Mardi Gras 2021,” Cantrell said. “We will let the data dictate the dates.”
The annual festivities have been canceled just 13 times before, most often during war-time or political unrest.
There is one notable comparison – 1879’s yellow fever curtailed much of the party, according to New Orleans’ The Advocate.
Asked during his daily press briefing about Mayor Cantrell’s comments, Governor John Bel Edwards, who had not listened to the interview yet, said that Mardi Gras 2021 is far enough out that “we don’t know enough today to hazard a guess as to what the circumstances are going to be at that point and time.”
Mardi Gras begins on January 6 and Fat Tuesday in 2021 is February 16.
Louisiana reports 27,286 Covid-19 cases and 1,758 deaths
Louisiana is reporting a total of 218 new Covid-19 cases and 61 deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 27,286 and 1,758 total number of deaths statewide. The total number of hospitalizations and patients on ventilators is on the decline, with 1,666 hospitalized and 244 patients on vents.
On Monday, Governor Edwards issued new guidelines for the state, easing some restrictions while extending the stay at home order through May 15. However, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell posted a statement on her official Twitter account on Tuesday saying that the “Governor’s announcement will not result in any changes to the existing #StayHome mandate in Orleans Parish”.
Orleans Parish, which reported zero deaths on Monday, had 4 deaths associated with the virus reported on Tuesday bringing the total number of deaths in the hard hit parish to 410 while the number of cases rose by 15 to 6,380.
New Orleans Jazz Fest canceled earlier this month
To the disappointment of locals and tourists alike, the beloved, long-running New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was outright canceled on April 16.
Festival organizers said that while they previously stated the festival would be postponed to the fall, the coronavirus pandemic that continues to “evolve unpredictably” caused them to cancel this year’s event and focus on 2021 instead.
“It takes something truly momentous to interrupt a 50-year New Orleans tradition as special as the Festival, but we feel strongly that the most prudent course right now is to allow more time for the situation to stabilize,” a statement on the festival’s website says.
The statement added that festival organizers have already begun working on next year’s event, which will take place April 22 to May 2 as normal.
To support the local musicians who have lost gigs due to the pandemic, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, which owns the festival, has set up a relief fund to support them during this time.