Holidays in New Orleans will look different this year due to ongoing pandemic

Updated: Nov. 11, 2020 at 8:49 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Jackson Square. But, the traditions New Orleanians and tourists from around the world have grown to love will look different this holiday season.

“We’re encouraging locals and guests to come enjoy the French Quarter for the holidays. It’s going to be sparkling and beautiful and we know so many of the restaurants will have incredible revellion menus and the shops will be ready and welcoming our guests,” said Emily Madero, the President and CEO of French Quarter Festivals Inc.

It’s no surprise tourism to the city is down due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but, New Orleans & Company says it’s doing what it can to bring people in to celebrate all that New Orleans has to offer.

“Clearly, Covid has had an impact on hotel occupancy and visitation, there’s no question about that, so, it’s hard to predict. But, what we are doing is actively marketing, we’ve got a marketing campaign that’s out right now that we are really encouraging people from a drive-in market to come to New Orleans,” said Kelly Schulz with New Orleans & Company.

There’s also a big push to make sure locals, guests, and hospitality workers follow the safety mandates in place, like mask wearing and social distancing.

Benjamin Springgate, MD, MPH with LSU Health says it’s critically important that people realize anytime they come together in groups that increases the risk there could be transmission of the virus.

"What we’re seeing across the country is very concerning. Today is the highest record number of cases that we have ever seen in our country. It’s spreading essentially like wildfire and there are some communities already where they are bringing in extra hospital M.A.S.H. units basically in order to accommodate people because the hospitals have already filled up, we are not immune to that, said Springgate who is LSU Health’s Chief of Community & Population Medicine. “Some people might not know that they are infected, they will travel, they will enter a group at their family’s house or a friend’s house, they will celebrate the holiday and there may be a risk of transmission, so, that’s something that we all need to be aware of and pay attention to as we plan our holidays.”

While beloved traditions will continue this year in New Orleans, they won’t look exactly the same. Reveillion dinners will happen at socially distanced tables and holiday concerts at St. Louis Cathedral and St. Augustine Church will be virtual.

“I think now more than ever our mission to celebrate our local culture is more critical than ever, music is medicine, it brings people joy, it brings us together, it brings us hope,” Madero said.

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