NEW ORLEANS — Mardi Gras 2021 has been cancelled - sort of.
The city of New Orleans revealed Tuesday that parades, one of the signature features of Carnival, would not be held next February due to the coronavirus.
In 2020, Mardi Gras also fell in February, not long before Louisiana and other states were inundated with cases of a virus that had first infected humans months earlier in Wuhan, China.
At that time, many public officials were still encouraging people to participate in civic events, although Mardi Gras was later blamed for being a “super-spreader” of the virus.
On Monday, City Hall issued a press release insisting “Mardi Gras 2021 is not cancelled, just different,” and requested public input on ideas for holding the massive celebration safely.
But on Tuesday word came that parades including Rex, the “King of Carnival” who rolls on Fat Tuesday, Carnival’s climax, would not grace the streets.
The word was downplayed at the city’s website, where the parade ban appeared among “frequently asked questions” about Mardi Gras 2021.
“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,” said one answer.
New Orleans’ decision mirrors that made in other countries where Carnival, the season leading up Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, has been effectively cancelled due to the coronavirus.
Earlier, Brazil and Aruba announced their legendary parties would not be held in 2021.
“The City of New Orleans cannot cancel Mardi Gras because it is a religious holiday, however we will not be able to celebrate the holiday this year as we have in the past,” the city’s website said.
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