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Twelfth Night is upon us as COVID cases rise across the state

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 9:46 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Twelfth Night is nearly here, marking the official start of Carnival, as COVID-19 cases soar locally and nationally.

City health officials are closely monitoring the data heading into the season and Krewes are doing everything they can to make the celebration safer.

“We’re using the hashtag “Protect Our Parade”, wear a mask, wash your hands, get some distance if you can and be smart about it, don’t come out if you don’t feel good,” Antoinette de Alteriis, Co-Captain of Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc said.

Ushering in Carnival is going to look a little different for Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc this year, only operating at around 75% of what they usually pack the Quarter with, also requiring masks of marchers and fulfilling the city’s requirement of krewe member vaccination or proof of negative test.

“We have a lot of people who have had to drop out because someone in their family is sick and they are isolating, which we appreciate them doing,” de Alteriis said.

But, they will be making up for it with tons of new elements, performances, and throws.

“Ahead of our parade we are going to have a team of plague doctors sweeping the streets to get rid of the plague and make way for carnival,” Co-Captain, Amanda Helm said.

COVID, unfortunately, can’t be swept away. Rio de Janeiro canceled a major part of their Carnival celebration.

“That’s Brazil, we’re New Orleans,” Mardi Gras Guide Publisher, Arthur Hardy said.

Hardy is confident this time around that COVID won’t cancel Carnival.

“With some restrictions, some limitations, but we’re back,” Hardy said.

The Mayor said she would consider reinstating the mask mandate to ensure the parades.

Phunny Phorty Phellows, also ushering in the season from the St. Charles Streetcar, is taking extra precautions along with their fellow Twelfth Night heralds, Societe Des Champs Elysee.

At the doors of its estimated 4,500 guest coronation on Saturday, Endymion President Dan Kelly says the Krewe will be swabbing members who aren’t vaccinated and haven’t been tested yet.

Muses take it a step further, requiring all riders to be fully vaccinated.

“The Mardi Gras people love to party, but no one thinks people’s health and lives aren’t more important than parades, so it’s proper and appropriate to act responsibly and krewes want to see this happen, but they want to see it happen safely,” Hardy said.

Mayor Cantrell will be speaking at the King’s Day event at Mardi Gras World Thursday. It’s unclear if this will include any announcements about the mask mandate or any other restrictions.

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