D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - As concerns over the rising number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow, at least one Mardi Gras parade on the Coast has already been canceled due to the pandemic.
For the first time in more than 30 years, the North Bay Mardi Gras parade will not roll along the streets of St. Martin and D’Iberville, and its ball won’t happen either.
“I know a lot of people have been shut up in their houses and everybody’s going to stir crazy, but we want to be safe and we want to make sure our families are safe,” said North Bay Mardi Gras Association President Joey Olier.
With organizations in Mobile and New Orleans also canceling Mardi Gras parades, Olier feels more people will be coming to south Mississippi to attend parades, making it tough for people to maintain a safe social distance from one another.
“One of our members, the parade coordinator, brought it up. He said, if these people come down and really get sick and it goes up higher, then we’re going to be named the cause of it. If we wouldn’t have had the North Bay parade then it wouldn’t have happened,” Olier said.
D’iberville Mayor Rusty Quave said the North Bay Mardi Gras parade attracts around 50,000 people last year, which helped boost sales at stores along the parade route.
“It’s unbelievable for that day with the restaurants, service stations, and all the department stores out at the mall. It’s just a big impact to our city,” Quave said. “I’ve been here over 29 years and this is the first time we’ve ever delayed Mardi Gras.”
The 33rd annual parade was originally scheduled to happen Feb. 14, 2021.
So far, this is the only Mississippi Gulf Coast organization to announce plans to cancel a Mardi Gras event.
With only three months to go until Fat Tuesday, Coast Mardi Gras clubs and associations are hoping to still have carnival events.
Earlier this month, New Orleans announced recommendations for Mardi Gras, which includes limiting alcohol consumption and having stationary floats. The following week, New Orleans’ mayor said the city would not have any parades during the upcoming season due to the pandemic.