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One month until the start of Carnival 2022 and krewes still don’t know what route parades will take

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 4:20 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Where will the parades roll? That’s the big question as carnival season is one month away. While there have been talks at City Hall about changing routes, krewes are still waiting to find out whether those changes will happen.

“We’ve never had so little information so late in the game,” said Carnival Historian Arthur Hardy. “People trust us to be accurate”

Hardy says he usually prints his Mardi Gras Guide in December to allow people to plan their carnival festivities. But he said he can’t print the guide because he doesn’t have the parade route information yet.

“I don’t want the NOPD, the Mayor’s office and the City of New Orleans to look bad, but I’m getting calls from around the country, ‘Wait a minute, what do you mean you don’t know? This is the biggest thing that y’all do and you can’t tell me when or where?” said Hardy.

The thing is, the City doesn’t know either. Spokesperson Beau Tidwell said those conversations are still taking place.

“Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts. But we understand people have to make decisions and work out their plans and we’re going to try to be as accommodating as we can but we don’t have an update today,” he said.

The concern with changing parade routes could impact nearly half of the parades during carnival. But the City has to take into consideration its manpower shortage from officers to sanitation workers.

“The hope is to work with the krewes and getting as close as we can be to getting everybody what they desire,” said Tidwell. “We want to do that in an equitable and fair way but a way that respects what our manpower capacity is.”

Right now, the New Orleans Police Department is putting together a proposal for the Mayor’s approval. Tidwell said from there, the City will move forward with decision-making, but there’s no specific timeline.

He said they obviously want it sooner rather than later.

“The bottom line is everyone is very excited to get back to Mardi Gras,” said Tidwell. “We want it to be as big and safe as it can be and everybody is committed to doing that.”

For Hardy, changing the routes changes the legacy of krewes like Zulu, Endymion, Thoth, and Nomtoc--the pride of Algiers.

“It’s more than an inconvenience if they have to change, it really changes who they are,” said Hardy.

The City’s vaccine requirement or negative COVID PCR test to enter restaurants and bars will remain in effect through Carnival season. In addition, Tidwell said people participating in parades, whether riding or marching, will have to abide by the vaccine or test result requirement as well.

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