New Orleans: Mardi Gras partygoers urged to stay away from festivities

‘If people think they’re going to come to Louisiana ... and engage in the kind of activities they would have pre-pandemic then they are mistaken’, governor says

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 16 February 2021 15:20

Related: New Orleans residents create Mardi Gras ‘house floats’

Leer en Español

Americans hoping to travel to New Orleans and party like it’s pre-pandemic times have another thing coming, Louisiana officials warned ahead of the Mardi Gras season. 

Bourbon Street won’t nearly resemble the alcohol-fueled party scene featured every year at the city’s iconic strip, Governor John Bel Edwards said at a recent news conference, after Mayor LaToya Cantrell cancelled parades and ordered bars closed. 

“If people think they’re going to come to Louisiana, anywhere, or New Orleans and engage in the kind of activities they would have pre-pandemic then they are mistaken,” the governor said, adding: “Quite frankly, they are not welcome here to do that.”

Parades and parties on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, and the days leading up to the annual pre-Lenten bash usually draw more than a million people to the streets.

But even bars that had been allowed to operate as restaurants with “conditional” food permits were shuttered for five days that began on Friday.

Take-out drinks in “go-cups” also are forbidden - no more strolling the French Quarter with a drink in hand.

Bourbon Street was to be blocked to car and foot traffic at 7am, with access limited to residents, business managers and employees, hotel guests and restaurant patrons.

Various estimates showed hotels were likely to be anywhere from one-third to more than half full, far below the 90 per cent plus bookings of most years.

Meanwhile, freezing or near-freezing temperatures were forecast for Tuesday.

If the crowd control measures work, the scene will be in start contrast to Mardi Gras crowds last year that were later blamed for an early Louisiana outbreak of Covid-19.

Parades also were cancelled this year in Mobile, Alabama, which boasts the nation’s oldest Mardi Gras celebrations.

There was no plan to close bars there, but some streets were to be shut down to control traffic and allow for more outdoor seating and service at restaurants and bars.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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