During a meeting on Thursday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and krewe captains discussed ideas to present their parades safely in the light of the coronavirus.
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Thursday told the captains of Carnival krewe to submit recommendations on December 5 on how their parades could proceed with Mardi Gras 2021, while also following the instructions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Cantrell repeated her announcement earlier on the day that Mardi Gras 2021 “is not canceled, just a difference.”; She and other city leaders spoke at a virtual meeting of the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Committee, which included captains and representatives from all of the city’s parade clubs.
“It’s a religious holiday and there’s no way it will be canceled in our city, but it will be something different,” she said.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Takeisha Davis, CEO of East New Orleans Hospital and a member of Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale, on behalf of a subcommittee formed by the team to address safety concerns. full COVID-19. Davis says leading that group is “an impossible task” but important if the Carnival goes on safely with COVID-19 still spreading in the community.
The group’s recommendations, which will have to be considered by Council, include strongly encouraging parades to wear nose and mouth masks to stop the spread of the virus. They also recommend that parades measure their temperature before parade, as well as bring hand sanitizer and abide by social outreach behavior along the parade route. Krewe members who are members of the subcommittee will also call on sick, high-risk or vulnerable people to stay home.
In what is certainly regarded as an insurmountable requirement, the subcommittee also proposed that the consumption of alcoholic beverages by parades and boat riders should be limited. They also recommend that “high value” throws be limited to discourage crowds from gathering and competing over them. They also suggested krewes be required to have buoyers stand six feet apart on a float, which could mean adding more floats to a parade, which could violate existing rules. The length of the parades in the city. It will also increase the cost of organizing a parade.
A city decree required pontooners to wear masks, but the subcommittee recommended that krewes require floaters to wear masks that cover their nose and mouth.
The committee recommends that tourists should take the COVID-19 test before arriving in the parade.
Krewe leaders also suggested that local television stations broadcast more of the Carnival parades, to offer an alternative solution for those who cannot or should not attend in person.
The Committee also recommends that there be coordination among local parishes for the recommendations to be followed by all local parishioners. That alludes to a question raised recently by some about whether parades canceled in New Orleans could attempt to parade in Jefferson or other local parishes.
“We absolutely love Mardi Gras, but we want to make sure that if we go forward, we will do it in the safest way possible,” Davis said.
Cantrell told the krewe captains they will need to take the lead in defining Mardi Gras’s look next year. She asked them to come up with proposals by December 5, which many consider an important deadline, with the start of the Festival season just a month away, on January 6.
She suggested that krewe leaders be creative in their ideas for a safe Carnival, such as staging a television event where “The mayor congratulates beans just floating with the royal family. . ” She and other city leaders also suggested that those who decided not to parade could park buoys and allow timed groups to walk to watch them.
Cantrell acknowledged national news headlines earlier this year that suggested the Mardi Gras 2020 was a “super contagious event” that jeopardized the life of COVID-19. Cantrell has said that no public health officials have proposed to cancel Mardi Gras this year.
“There are things we don’t know that we now know. What we know now is forcing us to make some difference, ”she said Thursday.
James Reiss, co-chair of the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Committee and leader of the Rex Foundation, admits: “There’s a lot of wind that has to go through in order to make a traditional parade. “We want to do whatever we can to celebrate the season.”
Reiss was co-chair of the committee along with Elroy James, president of the Zulu Fun and Social Aid Club.
In his presentation, Cantrell also detailed the huge financial costs of the Carnival, including the costs for public safety agencies, sanitation and the staff of parks and lanes, which she said a total of $ 7.6 million. She points out that with the city facing enormous financial challenges, the costs for the Carnival will only increase.
Earlier in the day, the City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that would maintain a krewe long service if they decide not to parade by 2021.
So far, the krewes of NOMTOC, Oshun, and Adonis have said they won’t parade next year. In the past, a krewe could lose its position if it did not roll.
Kristin Palmer, who co-authored the decree with Jay Banks, said: “To be clear, this is not a cancellation of Mardi Gras parades.
“This is simply a common safeguard that teams can choose to take advantage of if their organization cannot participate,” says Palmer.
“The fear that people will lose their positions, their ability to march, is definitely there,” Banks, who ruled King Zulu in 2016. “We want to make sure no one lives with that. “
Mardi Gras is February 16th.