Communities across Gulf Coast cancel traditional Mardi Gras celebrations
Mardi Gras festivities, typically associated with New Orleans, contribute to the identities of numerous communities across the Gulf Coast region. But as carnival season 2021 nears, an increasing number of Krewe officials in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are announcing event cancellations due to health and safety concerns associated with the spread of novel coronavirus.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Robert King, President of the Spanish Town Krewe in Baton Rouge confirmed Tuesday (Dec. 29) that the organization's February 13 parade will not roll.
King's statement was preceded by similar announcements from the Krewe of Southdowns, the Krewe of Artemis, the Krewe of Orion, the Krewe of Mystique, and the Krewe of Oshun in Louisiana.
The Associated Press notes that similar cancellations are taking place in Mississippi, as several Mardi Gras parades in Mississippi have already been nixed, and one more is likely to soon be added to that list.
Biloxi Mayor Andrew “Fofo” Gilich told reporters he’s “about 80%” sure he will cancel Mardi Gras parades in Biloxi in 2021 due to concerns about the coronavirus.
“Right now, it’s not looking too promising,” he said.
Gilich said he will make a call on the event before the new year.
“We aren’t going to do another super-spreader event,” he said, noting that health professionals have connected some of the state's current increase in COVID cases to holiday gatherings.
One of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s most popular Mardi Gras parades is hosted by the St. Paul Carnival Association and is among those that have already decided against holding Mardi Gras events in 2021.
A host of popular Mardi Gras season events typically held in Mobile, Alabama have likewise been nixed.
Included among these are events typically held by the area's Order of Inca and Krewe de Secondline.
The decision to cancel large public events is in harmony with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) advice against big holiday gatherings.
On its webpage, the CDC says, "As cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase across the United States, the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home with people who live with you.
As of December, a combined total of 16,853 individuals have died from COVID-19 complications in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.