Mardi Gras is on in New Orleans amid surge in COVID cases

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 3:07 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Carnival krewe members are excited that parades will roll this Mardi Gras after a hiatus in 2021 due to COVID. Though some precautions are advised, the parade calendar is full.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell kicked off King’s Day, the official start of the carnival season, saying in spite of restrictions put in place for Rio de Janeiro’s carnival, the New Orleans carnival is full steam ahead.

“Without a doubt, we will have Mardi Gras in ‘22. We know it’s good for our soul,” said Cantrell.

The hospitality industry suffered last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of the carnival, but this year the krewes and the hotels are excited.

“I never thought it would feel so good to see these words, ‘Happy Mardi Gras,’” said James Reiss III, with the Rex organization.

Some krewes lost members, other parades have fallen by the wayside, but the area has gained krewes as well.

“We lost Adonis on the West Bank. Some are taking a year off. But we gained the Culinary Queens in Metairie, and the Krewe of Symphony,” said Mardi Gras Guide publisher Arthur Hardy.

MARDI GRAS 2022

Another big part of Mardi Gras is the presentation of the Rex proclamation, which historically has been used to drum up tourism for the city going back 150 years.

“These edicts will be placed at every airport and train station asking people to get vaccinated and masked and come down and enjoy New Orleans Carnival,’ said Reiss.

“The message for tourists is to come vaxxed, masked, and COVID-free,” said Reiss.

But a former city health director says if you’re not vaccinated, you should avoid parades in large crowds.

“Vaxxed Carnival-goers are safe. Wearing a mask is a good idea. But if you’re not vaxxed, stay home,” said former city health director Dr. Brobson Lutz.

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